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Donald Dewar Wednesday, 21 June, 2000, 15:01 GMT 16:01 UK
'I'll be back' says Dewar
Donald Dewar
Mr Dewar has started working at home again
BBC News Online looks back at how we reported Donald Dewar's heart illness.

Donald Dewar has delivered an unequivocal message in his first interview since undergoing major surgery: "I'll be back."

Scotland's first minister has been recovering at home since having a faulty heart valve replaced in early May - now he says he will be back at his desk full-time by the end of the summer.

He said doctors had warned him he would feel tired for the first month after the operation, but he says he is now well on the road to recovery.

Mr Dewar has already started reading the "odd paper" that has been delivered to him by his aides using his laptop computer.

"There is correspondence by the box load in the house now and I'm starting to get through it and I'm enjoying that ," he said.
Parliament
First minister keen to return to parliament
The first minister said he had been touched by the number of cards and letters he had received from well wishers and good wishes he received from passers-by.

He has also been kept busy by entertaining friends, including Prime Minister Tony Blair last week, and watching the Euro 2000 football tournament.

Mr Dewar left hospital on 17 May, 10 days after a three-and-a-half hour operation.

He was operated on at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary by surgeon Kenneth Davidson, a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon.

During the operation he replaced a badly leaking aortic valve with a mechanical metal substitute and a 5cm length of Mr Dewar's aorta with man-made woven material.

During his stay in hospital and recuperation at home he has missed some important events in Scottish politics including Wednesday's crucial Section 28 vote and the temporary shift of the Parliament to Glasgow.

The important thing I think is to try to do the essentials and do them to the best of your ability

Donald Dewar
Mr Dewar paid tribute to the work of colleagues in the Scottish Executive who took over his duties during his recuperation.

He said they "had kept the show on the road".

Of the Section 28 debate he said: "I take the view that was a battle that was the harder because there was misunderstanding.

"But we stuck to our task and argued our case and at the end of the day a really necessary reform has taken place which is a relief for a very large number of people in this country."

Mr Dewar said news of his heart problem had come as a "very great shock" and he thanked medical staff who had aided his recovery.

'Raring to go'

But he said he would not making any changes to his lifestyle when he does get back to work.

He said: "I think the most pathetic thing in the world is sitting around in my situation making good resolutions.

"I have long since lost all faith in New Year's resolutions and I'm not sure that good resolutions at this stage work well.

"But, yes I will try to be sensible. The important thing I think is to try to do the essentials and do them to the best of your ability and if that means you shed some of the pomp and circumstance and some of the extras then so be it."

He added: "But I suspect that by the end of the summer I'll be raring to go."

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Scotland political editor Brian Taylor reports
"I have long since lost all faith in New Year's resolutions and I'm not sure that good resolutions at this stage work well"
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See also:

17 May 00 | Donald Dewar
11 May 00 | Scotland
11 May 00 | Scotland
10 May 00 | Scotland
26 Apr 00 | G-I
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