Comprehensive information on numbers of patients receiving cardiac surgery outside Wales is not readily available. However, during 1985, the most recent period for which information is held centrally, of 798 patients from Wales reported as having been treated in hospitals in England and Wales and whose specialty on discharge was recorded as cardiac surgery, 704, or 88 per cent., were treated at hospitals in Wales.
Does the Minister recall, in 1982, a report on the needs of cardiac surgery in Wales from Professor Williams? Does he not realise that the shortfall in cardiac surgery in Wales is such that we need two centres for south Wales, one serving the south-west and the other Cardiff?
It is because of that shortfall that the Government have increased the number of open heart operations being carried out in the Principality. At the moment we have a target of about 600 a year, but we intend to increase that number to about 1,100. As a result, a paediatric cardiac unit is to be built at the University hospital of Wales, in Cardiff, as the first phase of a substantial development of the regional cardiac service.