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Heart Disease

Volume 22: debated on Monday 19 April 1982

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13.

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will take steps to discover the cause of the high rate of heart deaths in Wales and to improve specialist treatment of heart disease.

As long ago as December 1979 my right hon. Friend asked the Welsh Medical Committee to prepare a report on cardiothoracic services in Wales. The report was presented to him in January, and I have myself discussed it with its authors. The report's recommendations are now being examined and costed by Welsh Office officials, and when this work is complete it will be published.

I welcome my hon. Friend's reply. Does he agree that the alleged leak was premature, irresponsible and caused unnecessary anxiety? Will he further take on board the fact that there is only one cardioangiography unit in the whole of Wales—at Cardiff—and, while other units over the border could be used, we do not have trained specialists to use them?

It is true that many treatments of Welsh people take place outside Wales, in both London and Liverpool. As to the so-called leak of the contents of this report, blatant party political propaganda is involved. Many of the figures, especially with regard to deaths, relate to as far back as 1978.

In addition to the working party report led by an eminent cardiologist, is the Minister aware of the report of Dr. Farrow, of the Welsh National School of Medicine, who states that expenditure on Welsh health should be according to our higher morbidity and not as calculated at present?

I am aware of that report, but the one that we are dealing with under this question was commissioned by my right hon. Friend and relates to cardiothoracic surgery in particular.

In calling the hon. Member for Merioneth (Mr. Thomas), I should point out that earlier I interpreted Question No. 6 narrowly, and I apologise to him. The hon. Gentleman might then have had a chance to ask a question, but he now has the opportunity to do so on Question No. 14.