HC Deb 02 March 1981 vol 1000 c10
9. Dr. Roger Thomas

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a further statement on his discussions with health authorities on the provision of thoracic surgery for South-West Wales.

Mr. Wyn Roberts

The terms of a joint appointment of a consultant surgeon are under discussion by the West Glamorgan and South Glamorgan health authorities. The basis on which the surgeon's services should be shared between them has not yet been settled, but following discussions with officials of the Welsh Office on Friday 27 February. I am hopeful that agreement will soon be reached.

Dr. Thomas

Does not the Minister realise that the compromise solution for the continuance of some degree of thoracic surgery at Morriston is likely to be the worst solution? Does not the hon. Gentleman accept that it amounts to a capitulation by West Glamorgan? Is he aware of how remote certain areas of Dyfed are and that the question of the non-availability of emergency services still has to be resolved?

Mr. Roberts

The hon. Gentleman appears to be unaware that the proposal for a joint appointment was the outcome of advice given by a working party of the statutory body, the Welsh Medical Committee. That was confirmed by a meeting of area medical officers, which was held on 22 January. Will the hon. Gentleman also realise that the Royal College of Surgeons has a say in this?

Mr. Anderson

Will the hon. Gentleman accept that the Government's partial change of mind is a triumph of local opinion over the medical establishment in Wales, which has shown an increasing desire to centralise both on this issue, and on the decision about the plastic surgery unit?

Mr. Roberts

As the Minister with responsibility for the Health Service in Wales, I would not like to overrule the advice of a statutory medical adivisory committee. It is as a result of that committee's recommendations and of our attempt to make that advice acceptable throughout South Wales that the proposals for a joint appointment are in hand.