Birmingham hospitals have been praised after every Trust in the city met ambitious waiting times targets five months early.
The target calls for patients to begin receiving treatment within 18 weeks of referral from their GP.
Ministers set the ambitious target four years ago, asking health trusts to ensure at least nine out of ten patients were treated within the specified time by the end of the year. But new data released by the Department of Health shows that this has already been achieved in the West Midlands.
More than nine out of ten West Midlands patients admitted for treatment in August had waited less than 18 weeks.
When the figures are broken down by hospital, they show that every hospital in Birmingham has met the target.
However, hospitals in Dudley, Worcestershire and Warwickshire are not quite there, while only eight out ten patients are treated by Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals within 18 weeks.
And there are also significant differences between specialities. Around 83 per cent of orthopaedic patients are treated within 18 weeks, compared with 98 per cent of rheumatology patients.
Across the country, just over half of trusts are failing to meet the 18-week target.
Ian Austin (Lab Dudley North), the Minister for the West Midlands, said: “These figures are a testament to the effort, hard work and dedication put in every day by the West Midlands army of NHS staff.”
He added: “Ten years ago, patients waited for up to two years, but we have now got new hospitals and more doctors and nurses treating more patients more quickly than ever before.”
London and the south east have the longest waiting times.