§ Mr. David Watkins
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the 730W current waiting time for patients requiring heart surgery at the Freeman hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne; and what is being done to speed up admissions.
§ Mr. Moyle
At 12th July, there were 268 patients on the waiting list for heart surgery at Freeman hospital. Sixty-two patients were classified as urgent, of whom 55 have been waiting over four weeks. Two-hundred-and-six patients were classified as non-urgent, of whom 58 have been waiting over 12 months. The area health authority (teaching) expects that admissions will be speeded up this year on the commissioning of a further 30 beds in the cardio-thoracic unit, but this is being delayed because of difficulties in recruiting suitably qualified and experienced nursing staff. The area health authority (teaching) is currently carrying out an energetic recruitment campaign.