§ Yvette Cooper
We are committed to improving waiting times for cardiac surgery, and in the west midlands initiatives include a new £13 million purpose built cardiac surgery critical care unit which recently opened at the University Hospitals Birmingham national health service trust.
A new purpose built cardiac surgery centre is being developed at the Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS trust, which is due to open in 2004, and is the first new specialist cardiac centre to be built in the west midlands for 30 years. The cardiac surgery unit at Stoke-on-Trent is also being expanded in 2002.
In the interim, private capacity is also being purchased at Leicester BUPA Hospital and the Priory Hospital, Birmingham to ensure no patient waits longer than 15 months.
In order to facilitate the treatment of urgent patients within the region, a cardiac services capacity manager has been appointed to ensure that urgent patients in the west midlands are treated quickly.