Senior NHS managers have been summoned to meet Welsh health minister Jon Owen Jones to 'discuss their contributions' to reducing lengthening waiting lists.

The first set of monthly figures released by the government statistical service shows 76,016 Welsh residents were waiting for hospital admission on 31 August, an increase of 66 on 31 July and 8,200 (12 per cent) up on August 1997.

The number waiting for an out-patient appointment was 135,198, an increase of 2,800 on 31 July; 23,800 (21.3 per cent) up on 1997.

Mr Jones, who described the 'fall off in performance' as 'unacceptable' last month, has arranged meetings with the chairs and chief executives of the five Welsh health authorities and six trusts to 'make clear the priority attached to bringing lists and times down'.

The number of people waiting more than a year for hospital admission dropped from 9,786 to 9,573 in August. But the number waiting more than 18 months had increased from 3,207 to 3,239.

NHS Wales Hospital Waiting Lists: August 1998. The Government Statistical Service. Copies from 01222-825064.