§ Dr. Harris
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to increase the supply of anaesthetists and theatre staff in cardiac surgery. 
§ Mr. Denham
We do not plan centrally the numbers of anaesthetists in cardiac surgery nor the numbers of theatre staff generally. It is for individual National Health Service trusts and health authorities, who are accountable for the quality of the services they provide, to determine the number, grade and mix of staff they will require to deliver quality services in their area.
Currently, there are enough specialists training in anaesthetics for there to be around 1,280 extra qualifying for consultant posts by 2005. At national level, numbers of higher specialist trainees in anaesthetics have been reviewed recently and we are satisfied there are sufficient to meet NHS demands for consultants over the next few years.
The National Service Framework for Coronary Heart Disease will be published shortly. This will reinforce the priority we attach to tackling coronary heart disease and set the service context within which health authorities and trusts will plan their staffing needs.