14/03/2011

More Help To Fight Heart Disease And Stroke

A new tool to help the NHS better treat cardiovascular disease in every area of the country was launched by the Department of Health today.

The online tool, compiled by the South East Public Health Observatory, allows for comparisons across the country in a bid to drive up standards and better target resources.

The tool has been developed so that local health services can assess the impact of cardiovascular diseases on their local populations. It also shows the quality and availability of services, and where a stronger focus on prevention could improve outcomes for patients. The NHS will be able to use the detailed local picture it provides to better understand the burden of cardiovascular disease and compare it to the England average.

It shows widespread variation in mortality rates from cardiovascular disease across England, with a higher incidence amongst people who live in deprived areas.

Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, is the main cause of death in the UK, causing around a third of all deaths in England. The tool shows that while overall mortality rates have improved considerably, variation on indicators, such as smoking, obesity and diet is still too wide.

Health Minister Simon Burns said: “People with long term conditions such as cardiovascular disease are the biggest users of the NHS, accounting for 50 per cent of GP appointments and 70 per cent of in patient hospital beds.

“We need to modernise the NHS to drive up standards across the country and provide these people with the best outcomes possible. We also need to tackle prevention - it is clear that the old ways of tackling public health problems have not always delivered the necessary improvements, and these figures show significant variation on factors like obesity and healthy diets.

“We are putting in place a public health service - Public Health England - that will give local people the money and the power to improve our nation's health. And as part of Change4Life, we are encouraging people to make simple changes, such as eating more fruit and vegetables, cutting down on fatty foods and being more active.”

(BMcN/GK)

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