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Patients who live with chronic pain conditions continue to face excruciating waiting times. Quarterly figures that were released yesterday confirm that the proportion of people who wait more than four months for their first appointment is increasing. Why is progress not being made? Will the First Minister apologise for that to the thousands of people who feel that their quality of life is suffering because they are stuck on national health service waiting lists just to get their first appointment?
Progress is being made through the waiting times improvement plan, which covers those who are waiting for appointments for chronic pain as well as for other conditions. To reduce the longest waits in our health service, £108 million has been invested so far this financial year out of the total of £850 million that is in the waiting times improvement plan. That is about increasing capacity to reduce waiting times right across the NHS. We will continue to work with NHS boards on the various actions that they are taking to remodel their services and build extra capacity, because that is the work that we need to do.