HC Deb 10 February 1986 vol 91 cc630-1
9. Mr. D. E. Thomas

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what was the total expenditure, in the latest year for which figures are available, by his Department on measures to reduce the incidence of heart disease in Wales.

Mr. Mark Robinson

The Welsh heart programme is receiving very substantial support from the Government. The Health Education Council has pledged £1.5 million over a period of five years. In addition, when I visited Heartbeat Wales on Friday, I announced that the Welsh Office was adding £30,000 to the £100,000 already granted in this financial year and, subject to the usual processes of parliamentary approval, £200,000 in the next.

Mr. Thomas

I welcome the Minister's announcement of his visit to Heartbeat Wales last Friday. All who are concerned about the level of heart disease in Wales support the programme. Does the hon. Gentleman accept that the amount of expenditure on advertising by cigarette manufacturers in Wales during the period of this campaign is something that we must all condemn? Will the Government take action directly against the cigarette manufacturers over this issue?

Mr. Robinson

The Government are reviewing the existing voluntary arrangements with the tobacco industry. I should not wish to speculate on the outcome of these discussions, but I am sure that the views of the medical profession will be taken into consideration. I share the hon. Gentleman's support for the work of Heartbeat Wales.

Dr. Roger Thomas

Cannot complex congenital heart disease be treated at Morriston and Cardiff instead of patients having to go to Bristol, Hammersmith and Birmingham?

Mr. Robinson

The services that a hospital provides are a matter for the health authority to consider. At the same time, we have centrally-funded services, which we review from time to time.

Mr. Grist

Is my hon. Friend aware of the alarming increase in smoking among schoolchidren? If we are to get on top of heart disease, is it not essential to get on top of the problem of child smokers?

Mr. Robinson

I am aware of my hon. Friend's point. This problem is particularly disturbing and prevalent among young girls. We are taking steps to increase our public relations profile within schools to try to alleviate the problem.