Published: 10/02/2005, Volume II5, No. 5942 Page 8

The Welsh health service will not implement English-style targets to bring down waiting lists, the director of NHS Wales has insisted.

Ann Lloyd said that if the Department of Health in London stopped its 'laser-like' methods of cutting waiting lists in England, they would rise again. She said Wales would take a longer-term approach which focused on public health.

Questioned by the Welsh Assembly audit committee on the auditor general's report on Welsh waiting times - credited with leading to the replacement of longserving health minister Jane Hutt by GP Brian Gibbons - Ms Lloyd stuck to her guns over how to deal with waiting lists.

This was despite figures released a week earlier showing that four of the eight Welsh headline list indicators are getting longer.

Under pressure from MPs to adopt England's approach, Ms Lloyd said Welsh needs were different because of poorer health. She said the Assembly government was focusing on preventing ill health and dealing with inequalities.

Ms Lloyd said England had now realised that more attention must be given to inequalities, with a new focus on illhealth prevention. 'And it is not inconceivable they will then find the same effect [lengthening lists] as in Wales.'