My right hon. Friend regrets that he cannot say when the supply will have caught up with the very large accumulated demand, but the supply has just been doubled.
About 3 per cent. of the aids delivered to distribution centres are now returned as faulty. Of the aids issued to patients in the first year about 24 per cent. have come in for servicing or repair in England and Wales, but it is difficult to know how much of this represents original faults in the instruments.
Very often the repairs are minor servicing repairs. We regard the proportion of sets which come back for minor repairs and servicing as extremely small.
The waiting period varies between the different distribution centres and in any case depends on priority of need. The average would, therefore, be meaningless even if it could be obtained.