An extra £93m for new facilities to treat heart disease around England is to be made available by the government.
Extra beds will be made available
Health Secretary John Reid has also announced eight new schemes to build or replace existing treatment labs.
Heart disease is the UK's most common cause of premature death. It takes more than 120,000 lives each year.
Dr Reid said waiting times for heart operations had already fallen significantly, but acknowledged there was more to be done.
He said: "The new schemes I have announced today will shorten waits and ensure that staff can care for patients in first-rate modern facilities."
The schemes announced by the health secretary include:
Dr Reid also said that existing schemes for Southampton and Blackpool had now been signed off, so that contracts could be signed and the builders could start work.
- A £56.2m cardiac centre at Basildon Hospital in Essex which is expected to provide an extra 78 in-patient beds, 12 intensive care beds and four theatres
- A £16.6m extension to Glenfield Hospital, Leicester to include an additional cardiac catheter lab, 17 in-patient beds, two day-case
beds and a theatre and outpatient suite
- A £20.9m investment in the cardiac centre at Nottingham City Hospital to include an extra four in-patient beds, eight day-case beds, four intensive care beds, six high dependency beds, a cath lab and a theatre
Similar news for Liverpool is expected in the next couple of weeks.
The health secretary also gave the go-ahead for eight new schemes to shorten the length of time it takes to be diagnosed with heart disease as part of a £125m joint initiative between the New Opportunities Fund and the Department of Health.
The improvements will take place at:
- Chesterfield Royal Hospital
- Papworth Hospital
- Rochdale Infirmary
- Royal Bournemouth Hospital
- Royal Brompton Hospital
- Harefield Hospital
- Northern General Hospital in Sheffield
Dr Roger Boyle, national director for Coronary Heart Disease, said: "The
development of new centres round the country will ensure ease of access for
those who need treatment.
"New facilities and equipment will guarantee that the treatment will
incorporate the latest technology to give heart patients the best chance of
Dr Rajesh Aggarwal, consultant cardiologist at Basildon and Thurrock
University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "The centre will be part of a new
approach to cardiac care in the county, with diagnosis, outpatient care and
rehabilitation being available at all Essex hospitals with Basildon hospital
providing major surgery such as heart by-pass and valve operations.
"It will give us the capacity we need to reduce waiting times and meet
Betty McBride, of the British Heart Foundation, said: "This is brilliant news for heart patients.
"Death rates have been falling and the picture for coming decades will be increasing numbers of people living with the harsh realities of life with heart disease. It is vital that they receive the best care we can give them."