§ 11. Mr. Donald Anderson
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he intends to announce his decision on a possible cardiac unit at Morriston hospital, Swansea.
§ Mr. Gwilym Jones
Following an extensive option appraisal, I am pleased to announce that a second cardiac centre is to be developed at Morriston hospital in Swansea. I have also endorsed the consultants' recommendations that the existing planning objective of 1,200 adult open-heart operations per annum should be increased to 1,400 in the light of the latest estimates of need and the prevalence of the disease in south Wales. I am, therefore, inviting proposals to develop the centre.
§ Mr. Anderson
I assure the Minister that this long-awaited decision will be eagerly greeted at Morriston and the staff there will be ready to co-operate with the Welsh Office in its implementation. Is the Minister able to give an assurance to the House that the full revenue and capital costs of the decision are secure?
§ Mr. Jones
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his welcome and assurance on behalf of the staff. I already know that they are looking forward to taking the decision forward. We have considered the proposal most carefully, not least the financial implications involved. I am anxious that the centre should come on stream as quickly as possible and I am urging the West Glamorgan health authority, the management of Morriston hospital and the Welsh Health Common Services Authority to initiate the proposals without delay.
§ Mr. Gareth Wardell
I very much welcome what the Minister has said, but I wish to check three things with him. First, can he confirm that the same situation will not be repeated at Morriston as happened at University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, when evidence given to the Select Committee at the time he was a member showed that patients were dying on the wards because there were no dedicated intensive care beds? Will he ensure that those beds are in place? Secondly—
§ Mr. Wardell
Will the Minister confirm that the management and funding of the second cardiac unit will be fully under the NHS?
§ Mr. Gwilym Jones
We have already made arrangements to expand the activities of the University Hospital of Wales to 800 from April this year. I am fully satisfied that all that is necessary to do that has been put in place. In turn, we shall be working out the arrangements. I have invited the proposal to be submitted as quickly as possible. This will be a tremendous advance for the national health service in Wales. It will be a new facility for the NHS treating NHS patients in Wales and I am especially grateful that the hon. Gentleman welcomes it.