§ Mr. McMaster
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what provisions are made within the citizens charter programme to ensure that the waiting times of outpatients is minimised.
§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
In accordance with the provisions of the patients charter all health boards introduced, with effect from 1 April 1992, local targets for waiting times for first appointments at outpatient clinics. Health boards are at present reviewing these targets with the objective of converting them into guarantees to take effect from 1 April 1993. The patients charter also included the commitment that patients should be seen within 30 minutes of the appointment time they have been given or should expect to receive an explanation for the delay and an idea of how much longer the wait is likely to be.