7. Mrs. Slater
asked the Minister of Health what recommendations he has made to hospital authorities on the arrangements at hospitals for National Health patients to see consultants.
I thank the Minister for that reply. Does he realise, however, that throughout the country considerable dissatisfaction is being expressed by people about the length of time they often have to wait to see a consultant if they wish to have a consultation through the National Health Service? Is he further aware that these people are saying—and this has a bearing on what was said earlier by my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Exchange (Mrs. Braddock) in another context—that if one is prepared to pay one can obtain almost instant treatment? If we are to have a National Health Service, should it not be a comprehensive one rather than a system under which money gives one the first opportunity?
§ Mr. Powell
Waiting lists for consultation are closely connected with waiting 5 lists for treatment. I have asked hospital authorities to make the reduction of these lists a major objective this year, and a great deal of work on this is being done.