§ 3. Mr. Simon Coombs
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what was the incidence of coronary heart disease in Wales in 1980; and what was the equivalent figure in the latest year for which statistics are available.
§ Mr. Gwilym Jones
Information on the incidence of coronary heart disease in Wales is not available centrally. However, there were 9,706 deaths of Welsh residents from coronary heart disease in 1980–345 deaths per 100,000 population—compared with 9,541 deaths in 1991, a decline to 331 per 100,000 population.
§ Mr. Coombs
The figures are encouraging. I am sure that the House would want to congratulate Heartbeat Wales on its campaign and on reducing the numbers of people suffering from premature coronary heart disease in 189 Wales. Can my hon. Friend tell the House what more he thinks can be done to reduce the figures still further, because they remain a cause for some concern?
§ Mr. Jones
I wish to accept my hon. Friend's congratulations on behalf of Heartbeat Wales and the health promotion authority for Wales. They have begun their work well and there are already encouraging signs of a reduction in smoking among adults. We are taking forward the possibility of other measures, including opportunist testing for cholesterol.
§ Dr. Kim Howells
The Minister will know that a general reduction in the level of blood pressure tends to reduce the incidence of heart disease quite dramatically. Can he tell me why the good work of Heartbeat Wales and general practitioners everywhere in Wales has been so massively undermined in the past week by the stupid and inept handling of the coal crisis? Does he not know that that has sent the blood pressure of Wales sky high? What is he going to do about it?