The average wait for treatment on the NHS is now just 8.6 weeks – the shortest since records began, according to new government figures.
Health secretary Alan Johnson praised the NHS in England for achieving its target of treating all patients within 18 weeks from referral by their GP.
Data shows that average referral to treatment times for heart patients has reduced by half from 14 weeks in March 2007, to 7 weeks in January 2009.
Mr Johnson said: ‘Achieving the shortest waits since NHS records began is a tremendous achievement for staff and I congratulate them for all their hard work. Meeting the standard nationally five months before it came into effect, shows the commitment of the whole health service to improving patients’ experiences.’