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MISS AN APPOINTMENT AND YOU'RE OFF THE LIST; NHS chief's policy to cut op queues.


PATIENTS will lose their place on hospital waiting lists if they miss an appointment or are late.

A letter from an NHS boss tells hospitals to introduce a "one strike and out" policy to cut the number of people queuing for operations.

Ruth Carnall says there must be "innovative and lateral thinking" to meet Government targets.

The South East NHS chief stresses that only patients with "genuine mitigating circumstances" should be exempt. The letter, leaked yesterday, also urges hospitals to give priority to non-urgent surgery so the targets can be met more easily.

Carnall says this would give the South East's hospitals "some safety margin" to combat lists in a "sorry state."

The revelation came a day after watchdogs slammed NHS trusts for fiddling waiting figures.

They claimed there had been deliberate manipulation. Tony Blair told MPs yesterday that it was "entirely unacceptable" that figures were manipulated.

But he said that in the five years that 6,000 people were "misallocated," 25 million operations were done.

Voice Of The Mirror: Page 6
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 20, 2001
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