§ Mr. Hepburn
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time is for NHS heart by-pass surgery in Tyneside. 
§ Mr. Denham
Based on performance over the last six months, the average waiting time for an NHS coronary artery by-pass graft in Tyneside is 188 days. A new initiative to provide coronary artery by-pass grafts at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, as well as the Freeman Hospital, commencing on 6 February 2001, will provide a further 25 coronary artery by-pass graft operations in this financial year. This will rise to over 200 additional operations in 2001–02 and then 400 additional operations from 2002–03 onwards.