HC Deb 24 May 1994 vol 244 c119W
17. Lady Olga Maitland

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made under the patients charter on outpatient waiting times; and how she proposes to strengthen the charter in this area.

Dr. Mawhinney

We are committed to reducing all waiting times. Since 1 April 1992 the patients charter has required health authorities to set and publish local charter standards for waiting time for first out-patient appointments for each hospital, specialty and consultant. On 13 April 1994 my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced that a national target will be set for the length of time patients have to wait for their first out-patient appointment. Further details will be announced later this year.