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To what extent are consultant surgeons to blame for waiting lists for surgery in the NHS This essay examines the arguments surrounding the causes of waiting lists initially concentrating on the reasons that relate specifically to consultant surgeons before expanding to address the reasons beyond their power and influence The short summary and conclusion includes a glimpse of some new initiatives being developed to combat waiting lists and fortunately some of the particular issues raised here I cut it in half just by eliminating those on the list whod moved or couldnt be contacted Half of the remaining patients didnt need to have the procedure anymore and for the half that did I told them to go and fall over outside and Id see them in casualty and do it as an emergency Anyway I quickly eliminated the waiting list and trotted off to tell my boss the good news He was not amused Dont you ever ever touch my waiting list again Its my power base within the hospital and my passport to private practice outside Junior orthopaedic surgeon quoted in Hammond 1999 This quote is illuminating because it highlights a marked attitude difference between doctors and the public toward waiting lists In this instance a doctor is demonstrating a very strong desire to preserve the length of his waiting lists and clearly citing self-interest as the reason In comparison a study by Canlan et al 1993 found that only 1 percent and 9 percent of their study group found the hospital waiting lists for non-emergency operations very good or satisfactory respectively Conversely they found that 87 percent of the public surveyed extracted from 1688 completed returns are to some degree dissatisfied with waiting lists with 51 percent saying that they were in need of a lot of improvement the most critical option available to them Assuming that the consultant referred to above is
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