§ 12. Mr. Costain
asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that patients have to wait between four and 10 weeks to obtain a new appointment to attend outpatient clinics at hospitals under the control of the South-East Kent Hospital Management Committee; and what steps h is taking to remedy this delay.
§ Mr. Costain
Is the Minister satisfied with this situation? Is it better or worse than in the rest of the country? May we have the Minister's assurance that no cuts due to the economic situation will make this situation worse?
§ Mr. Snow
There is a Question later on the Order Paper about that aspect of the matter. One of the troubles in this area is that there has been a build-up of waiting lists because there has been a tendency for references to be made to specific consultants. If the load is more equally shared—and we are taking steps to get that done—the position may be alleviated.