§ Mr. Welsh
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list(a) the size of the waiting list and (b) the average waiting time for orthodontic treatment in each health board area in Scotland; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Galbraith
[holding answer 20 January 1999]: Most orthodontic treatments carried out within the Hospital and Community Health Service settings are undertaken on an outpatient basis. The latest available information on the mean waiting time for a first orthodontic outpatient appointment, by area of residence, is given in the table. Information on the number of patients waiting for outpatient appointments on a given date is not collected centrally.
A major proportion of orthodontic treatment is undertaken in general dental practice, rather than in hospitals or the Community Health Service and no information is held centrally on patient waiting times for such treatment.
From 1 July 1999, this will be a matter for the Scottish Parliament.
NHS in Scotland: mean waiting times for a first orthodontic outpatient appointment during year ended 30 September 1998 1 by area of residence2 Area of residence Mean wait (days) Argyll and Clyde 146 Ayrshire and Arran 65 Borders 130 Dumfries and Galloway 93 Fife 127 Forth Valley 56 Grampian 170 Greater Glasgow 100 Highland 194 Lanarkshire 98 Lothian 94 Tayside 85 Western Isles 293 1 Provisional 2 A consultant orthodontist from the mainland visits Orkney and Shetland on a regular basis to hold first outpatient consultation clinics. Patients are seen at the first clinic following GP/GDP referral.