To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions he has had on the provision of a new cardiac centre at Basildon hospital; when the Essex Strategic Health Authority will consider the final plans; how many heart operations a year the centre will perform; what range of procedures and operations will be available at the unit; and when the unit will become available for use. 
There has been continued long-term investment in the capital infrastructure to support further expansion of cardiac surgery and to reduce waiting times. 12 major capital developments schemes have so far been announced; four in March 2001 and eight in November 2001, at a total cost of over £300 million.
The cardiac scheme in Basildon is one of a number of additional schemes, which have not yet been announced but where planning is proceeding and Department of Health officials are being kept informed of progress. The scheme will need to progress through the normal planning procedures including demonstrating local commissioner support to enable a final decision to be made.