§ Mr. Touhig
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I meet regularly with the National Assembly First Minister and Health Minister to discuss the NHS in Wales.
The Assembly is exploring with the Department for Health a range of options including some outside the Welsh NHS. At present, where it is appropriate, cardiac patients are offered the opportunity to receive their treatment in England, notably at the Hammersmith Hospital, co-ordinated by the Specialised Health Services Commission for Wales.
The target by the end of March 2002 is that no patient needing routine cardiac surgery should wait more than 12 months for treatment. By 2003–04 the target is that cardiac waiting time will have further reduced to six months and then down to three months by 2006–07.