HC Deb 23 January 2001 vol 361 cc514-5W
Mr. Winnick

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to ensure that the number of keyhole operations is not reduced on financial grounds. [146769]

Mr. Denham

It is for clinician s to make a clinical judgment as to the best course of treatment for a patient, taking into account clinical and cost-effectiveness as well as patient preference. When making this judgment, we would expect clinicians to take full account of any relevant national guidance, such as that issued by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence.

Mr. Winnick

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people had(a) keyhole heart operations and (b) other heart operations on the NES in the last five years in England and Wales. [146770]

Mr. Denham

Until very recently cardiac procedures were not carried out using minimally invasive therapy (keyhole surgery). Research is currently under way into the use of such therapy for heart operations.

The number of heart operations carried out in the National Health Service during the last five years rose by 20 per cent. The figures are:

1995–96 153,784
1996–97 162,186
1997–98 161,508
1998–99 177,711
1999–2000 184,671