Tackling heart prevention in the NHS

14th August 2017

Under new plans, people could undergo new health checks at GP surgeries or pharmacies to prevent heart disease and early deaths.

It is estimated that seven million people are unaware they suffer from conditions including high blood pressure, high cholesterol or irregular heartbeat - with the NHS looking to increase early detection of these so-called "silent killers".

NHS England has requested local health authorities identify those who may be at risk and put them on a suitable treatment, the Daily Mail has reported.

Dr Matt Kearney, Director for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at NHS England, told the paper: "We could prevent hundreds of strokes and heart attacks if we improved identification and treatment of these conditions - at least hundreds, potentially a lot more.

"People are often walking around undiagnosed. There are proven treatments for these conditions and they're all very effective. What's common to these conditions is they generally don't have any symptoms."

He added that cardiovascular disease costs the NHS about £7 billion a year - as well as 25% of all premature deaths - and said the situation will only get worse

The proposals will see blood pressure and heart rate monitors installed in surgeries so patients can get their own readings, as well as GPs and high street pharmacies offering pin-prick tests for cholesterol.

Joel Rose, Chief Executive at Cardiomyopathy UK said: “This could be good news for people with cardiomyopathy. Although this scheme focuses on more common cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure or cholesterol, it may lead to a greater number of people taking an interest in their own heart health and considering their own “heart history”. It may even help to challenge the stereotypical view, held by many doctors, of what a typical heart disease patient looks like.”