HC Deb 26 May 1978 vol 950 cc797-8W
Mrs. Chalker

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what action he proposes to take to correct the inability of Merseyside surgeons to carry out lifesaving heart surgery within their own over-funded region, rather than sending seriously ill patients to London.

Mr. Moyle

The establishment of consultant cardio-thoracic surgeons in the Mersey Region and the number of cases treated relative to the population served, compare favourably with the country as a whole. Cardiac surgery centres in London have traditionally attracted certain patients from all parts of the country and this pattern has continued as demand has increased, but I am not aware that the numbers being referred from the Mersey Region are in any way exceptional. The capacity of the services in the region has however been temporarily reduced by the absence of one consultant on extended sick leave.

1975 1976
New therapeutic group Number of prescriptions (thousands) Total costthousand) Number of prescriptions (thousands) Total costthousand)
O12 Hypnotics 13,883 10,327 13,804 12,496
O13 Sedatives and tranquillisers 20,868 15,069 21,190 20,206
O14 Anti-convulsants 3,319 2,832 3,484 3,780
O24 Anti-depressants 6,993 10,700 6,988 12,761
O25 Anti-depressants/sedative and tranquilliser combinations 1,487 2,305 1,508 2,648

In 1975 existing systems of statistical analysis of drugs and appliances were revised so as to both reflect current pharmacological knowledge and also to enable a common system of classification to be used for both hospital and general practice prescriptions. One of the effects of this revision has been to exclude "barbiturates" as a separate group. Drugs previously so classified now appear in three different groups viz "Hypnotics", "Sedatives and Tranquillisers" and "anticonvulsants ". Figures under the old classification for 1974 and 1975 have been published in the 1975 and 1976 editions respectively of Health and Personal Social Services Statistics for England.

The Mersey Region is not overfunded but is assessed currently as being marginally below its target. The region has received an increase of 2.2 per cent. in its revenue allocation for the current year.

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