24 APRIL 2012




Local MSP Duncan McNeil has demanded to know why it took so long for Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon to introduce a lifesaving heart procedure to Scotland after a local constituent was forced to go to Belfast to receive the treatment.


The SNP government failed to fund the operation – which replaces a crucial valve in the heart - for nearly four years.


Scottish NHS officials claimed there was a lack of evidence to support its introduction, despite it being available in the rest of the UK and Europe and with some 40,000 TAVI procedures being performed to date around the world.


But now at last the procedure - Transcather Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI) – has been given the green light in Scotland.


It is estimated that 100 people per year could benefit from the TAVI treatment some of whom are on a waiting list to have the operation outside Scotland.


The minimally-invasive procedure involves a replacement valve being inserted into the heart, either through the groin or through a small incision on the chest. The benefits are instant, with patients typically leaving hospital in a couple of days and a success rate of 98%.


Brian Bradley from Inverclyde was forced to take his 73 year old mother Cecelia to Belfast for the TAVI treatment and is angry that he had to challenge his local health board to get them to fund the operation.


Duncan McNeil said; “I am delighted for Cecelia and her family that after months of trying to negotiate through the bureaucracy she finally got the treatment she required”


“However, the fact that Scotland has had to wait for years for this life saving treatment to be introduced is a matter of real regret, especially for the families who have been denied the treatment or who have had to travel to another country to get it”


Whilst I welcome that the government has finally given the green light for TAVI to be introduced after the concerted efforts of the Bradley family, we need to know when it will be introduced, what hospitals will provide the treatment and who will have access to the service”


“We also need Nicola Sturgeon to explain why it has taken her four years longer than the rest of the UK to give the green light for the service”


“People may have died as a result of the failure to introduce this service earlier”