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Last Updated: Friday, 23 July, 2004, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
Glasgow keeps heart transplants
Heart operation
The Glasgow unit has been affected by a shortage of surgeons
Heart transplant operations are to continue being carried out in Glasgow, Scotland's health minister has said.

The announcement follows a review of the work done by the Scottish Heart Transplant Unit, which is based at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

There had been speculation that transplants would be moved to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.

Malcolm Chisholm also announced the creation of a National Centre for the Treatment of Advanced Heart Failure.

This will incorporate the Scottish Heart Transplant Unit and offer more services including alternatives to heart transplantation.

The executive will continue to ensure that Scotland is at the forefront of new medical and surgical treatments for heart failure
Malcolm Chisholm
Health Minister
Mr Chisholm said: "This represents the start of a new era for Scotland's adult heart transplant service as an integral part of an extended, modern and comprehensive service for the treatment of advanced heart failure.

"This centre of excellence means Scotland will have a comprehensive heart failure service ranging from the care provided by specialist nurses in patients' own homes to the most complex interventions provided by the national centre.

"The Scottish Executive will continue to ensure that Scotland is at the forefront of new medical and surgical treatments for heart failure."

The new centre is expected to carry out up to 15 heart transplants a year.

The unit at Glasgow Royal Infirmary opened in 1992 but has been affected by a shortage of surgeons and the broader problem of a lack of transplant organs.

Organ shortage

Mr Chisholm issued appealed for people to carry an organ donor card and to put their names on the NHS organ donor register.

About 500,000 people in Scotland suffer from chronic heart disease (CHD) and the condition claims more than 11,600 lives a year.

Deaths from CHD in Scotland have fallen by 29% over last 10 years but are still higher than the UK average.

Brian Gorman, chairman of the heart transplant patients' support group welcomed Mr Chisholm's announcement.

He said: "I am delighted at the news and pleased that this highly committed team can continue to work together as part of an expanded advanced heart failure service to treat more patients."

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