HC Deb 28 January 1963 vol 670 cc556-7
32. Mr. Denis Howell

asked the Minister of Health if he will state the numbers on the waiting list for hole-in-the-heart operations at each of the hospitals able to perform this operation.

Mr. Braine

This information is not recorded centrally.

Mr. Howell

How does the Minister ascertain the need for an extension and development of this and similar types of surgery if he keeps no statistics? Will the Minister take the trouble to find out the position, and will he confirm that there could be an extension of this sort of surgery if technicians, who have the lives of patients in their hands while such an operation is in progress, were properly paid? Is he aware that, for example, his Ministry refuses to allow more than £900 to be paid to a very highly skilled technician involved in the hole-in-the-heart operation, and that this attitude is preventing an extension to deal with a waiting list of many hundreds, if not over a thousand, in the Midlands? Will he please look at the facts?

Mr. Braine

This is a relatively new operation. There is a backlog of cases requiring treatment. Certainly we will look into the matters which the hon. Member has raised.

Mr. Elwyn Jones

Is a central register of information kept from which information can be obtained as to where this highly specialised operation can be carried out?

Mr. Braine

There are some 31 cardiac surgical units which carry out this operation. To obtain the information requested in the Question it would be necessary to identify those patients on their lists waiting for this operation, and at this stage I do not consider that the labour involved would be justified.

Mr. Burden

Is it not a fact that when these operations are carried out, requiring considerable skill and new techniques, almost inevitably there is bound to be a backlog of people requiring treatment during the early stages and until sufficient doctors are trained to carry out the operation?

Mr. Braine

I think that my hon. Friend is describing the position accurately. As we go along we can improve the position.

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