A HEALTH Authority has hit back after being labelled a 'poor performer' in a waiting list mix-up caused by a national body.
South Cheshire Health Authority (SCHA) is one of the best performing bodies in the North West, but was wrongly labelled as 'dire' by the National Audit Office (NAO).
Last week the NAO caused a storm by issuing figures from Nottingham hospital patients, incorrectly labelling them as North West patients.
This led to some regional media outlets claiming that the waiting list figures in the SCHA catchment area were 'dire'.
This has been refuted by SCHA. The NAO has since withdrawn its incorrect figures and apologised to all concerned.
A SCHA spokeswoman said they were actually the second best performing body in the North West, not one of the worst, as had been previously stated.
She added: 'We deeply regret that the figures quoted by the NAO for us - and indeed the North West as a whole were seriously incorrect.
'The NAO did not share this information with us before releasing it to the Press. The NAO has now released a statement apologising for this error.'
The correct figures for SCHA are:
In-patients waiting for treatment per 1,000 people by the end of March 2000 (the latest figures released) are 20.7. This is opposed to the incorrect figure of 45, which was given out by the NAO.
Out-patients waiting for treatment per 1,000 people by March 2000 was 5.4, and not 11.8 as had been stated by the NAO.
These figures have not been broken down into different regions of Cheshire, or for the individual hospitals. The SCHA spokeswoman added: 'We have the second best performance in the North West, out of a total of 16 health authorities.
'We also have the sixth best performance for out-patient waits.
'Indeed, as of March this year, we had a 4% better performance than the targets set for both in-patient and out-patient waits.'
There are 13,915 in-patients waiting for treatment, as opposed to the target of 14,480. And there are 3,647 out-patients waiting, opposed to the target of 3,796.
The spokeswoman added: 'The success in achieving these standards is due to the hard work of the care professionals working in South Cheshire.
'Not only have we achieved a significant reduction in the number of people waiting, but also in the length of time people have to wait.'