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MR HIRD: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, you can see that these people - there are two of them over there - are not interested in health. My supplementary question to the Minister for Health is this: Could this clinical waiting time possibly cause the unfortunate death of the patients on these long waiting lists?

MRS CARNELL: People on the category one waiting list are supposed to be seen within 30 days or their condition may get substantially worse. People on category 2 waiting lists are supposed to be seen within 90 days or their condition could become clinically worse. The statistics I have already outlined today show that that is simply not happening in a good percentage of cases. We have to overcome those problems. Under the previous Government, waiting lists increased from 1,789 to 4,600. That is what we saw happen when they just had the “more of the same” approach to health. More of the same is not good enough. We have employed consultants - - -

Ms Follett: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: I refer you to the relevance of Mrs Carnell's answer. Mr Hird's question clearly asked whether people would die while they were waiting, and I await Mrs Carnell's clinical advice on that matter.

MR SPEAKER: Unfortunately, I will not allow Mrs Carnell to give clinical advice on that matter because - - -

Ms Follett: That was the question. Was it out of order?

MR SPEAKER: A question should not contain hypothetical matters. Mrs Carnell has, fortunately, not transgressed yet. She is giving factual information. But she should not stray into suggesting what may occur in terms of - - -

Mr Berry: Perhaps the question is out of order.

Mr Connolly: On a point of order: Mr Speaker, have you just ruled out the supplementary question?

MR SPEAKER: No. I have allowed the supplementary question.

Mr Connolly: The supplementary question was: Could people die on the waiting list? You have just said that that would be hypothetical, and thus disallowable.

MR SPEAKER: I have allowed the supplementary question.

Mr Hird: I said “clinical waiting time”. Listen.

MR SPEAKER: Order! I am responding to Mr Connolly, Mr Hird, not to your good self. I was prepared to allow it, as long as Mrs Carnell did not stray into that area. She, of course, is aware of standing orders, Mr Connolly, and has not strayed into it. Nevertheless, I would ask her to bring her supplementary answer to a close.

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