Quite a lot if you are one of the people who needed an operation last year rather than in, say 1996.
Interestingly number of people waiting has increased in the last year, which people who know about about medicine than I do say is a result of the recession (less people on private healthcare schemes), but importantly the number waiting for longer than 13 weeks had increased far less sharply. If you like cold hard numbers: in March 1997 there were 1,030,947 people who had been on an NHS waiting list for more than 13 weeks and in December 2009 there were 57,586.
And investment in public services doesn’t make any difference?
Thanks to Liberal conspiracy (left wing but not Labour blog) for the graph and numbers.