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Heart surgeons 'twiddle thumbs'.

FEWER operations were performed by heart surgeons last year because of a shortage of intensive care beds, it was reported today.

The Society of Cardio-thoracic Surgeons is releasing figures showing that heart bypass operations have fallen for the first time in 25 years.

Jules Dussek, the society's president, said the government's pounds 50 million crusade on heart disease was a "drop in the ocean".

"Over the past 25 years the number of operations for coronary heart disease has been going up by about 1,000 a year," he told BBC1 Breakfast News. "But last year they dropped by 500 - the first time we've seen a fall."

Although government figures claimed to show a substantial increase in operations, the society was confident that its figures were correct, Mr Dussek said.

Surgeons and other staff were "twiddling their thumbs" because there was a desperate shortage of intensive care beds for patients.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Mar 14, 2000
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