I understand that many people suffer from cardiovascular diseases such as Coronary Heart Disease, atrial fibrillation and strokes. A combination of all three contributed to my own father’s death, and as a doctor my wife sees the ongoing consequences of such conditions almost every day. I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the excellent work that charities carry out in terms both of research and the support they offer for those suffering with heart disease. I will try my best to attend the APPG on Heart Disease reception on 19th January.
I am also encouraged that the Government has undertaken a number of measures to help tackle heart disease. You may be interested to know that the Government has published a strategy, which sets out how rates of survival can be improved. NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Heart Disease has established an expert group to co-ordinate delivery of the strategy and ensure that patients have access to the best possible treatment.
I would like to reassure you that the Government is taking strong action on cardio-vascular disease. All 40-74 year-olds are entitled to an NHS check-up every five years, which analyses the risk of cardio-vascular disease based on lifestyle, family history, and other factors, to ensure that people are aware of the risks and, if necessary, can take steps to reduce the likelihood of cardio-vascular disease occurring. This prevents 1,600 heart attacks and strokes per year.
In addition, the Government has negotiated a deal to offer an initial 500 defibrillators to schools at reduced prices. This will benefit thousands of pupils and teachers by helping to put life-saving equipment in classrooms across the country. Indeed, I raised this matter in the Commons last year, and was pleased that the Education Secretary confirmed her support for the scheme. I am also pleased to be supporting the Boston Dragon Boat Race’s charity this year, which hopes to see defibrillators set up in a network around Boston.