The number of GP referrals has shot up by nearly 300,000 compared with the same period last year, official statistics released today reveal.
GP referrals made in the quarter ending 30 September have risen by 12.6 per cent, while other referrals have increased by 9.2 per cent.
The figures also show 91 patients for whom English commissioners are responsible waited longer than the 26 weeks standard for inpatient admission at the end of October 2008.
The number waiting more than 13 weeks was 40,800, a drop of 4.8 per cent from September 2008 and 36.4 per cent from last October.
Out of a total of 888,000 patients, 551 waited more than the 13 weeks standard for a first outpatient appointment following GP referral at the end of October.
Of these, 67 were English residents waiting for appointments in Welsh hospitals.
There was an increase of 13.9 per cent in the number of patients waiting longer than eight weeks at the end of October 2008, compared with last October, but the numbers dropped by 14.9 per cent from September this year.
During the quarter ending 30 September 2008, 13,100 operations were cancelled at the last minute for non-clinical reasons. In the same period in 2007, 12,500 operations were cancelled.
Of these cancellations, 3.3 per cent of patients were not treated within 28 days, compared with 5 per cent in the same period last year.