NHS commits to a new focus around heart and circulatory diseases in 10 year plan

18 July 2018        

Category: BHF Comment

NHS England’s chief executive Simon Stevens has committed to tackle heart and circulatory conditions, adding them as a top priority to the NHS 10-year plan which is due to be unveiled this Autumn.

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The five major priorities for the next 10 years include heart and circulatory disease, cancer care, mental health, health inequalities and children's services.

Long term funding

Mr Stevens is currently formulating a long-term plan for the NHS, which will include more detail on approaches to tackle priority areas over the next ten years.

The plan is being formulated off the back of a recent announcement by the Prime Minister Theresa May, which will see a £20 billion a year increase in funding for NHS England by 2023-24.The funding, which doesn’t include social care, is the biggest increase since 2002.

Lagging behind

Heart and circulatory disease is appropriately listed as the top priority for the NHS to tackle in its long-term plan as the NHS is lagging behind other countries in survival rates from heart attacks and strokes, according to a recent report.

The report - published by the Nuffield Trust, the Health Foundation, the Institute for Fiscal Studies and The King’s Fund - highlighted the UK’s NHS performs worse than average in the treatment of 8 out of the 12 most common causes of death. This includes the UK having worse than average survival rates for deaths from heart attacks and strokes after 30 days.

Funding increase could transform heart and circulatory treatments

Speaking about the impact of the news, and areas for improvement, Our Chief Executive Simon Gillespie, said:

“Prioritising heart and circulatory diseases in the NHS in England is a much-needed commitment to reducing the devastating impact diseases such as heart attack, stroke and vascular dementia have on millions of families across the country. Despite huge progress in reducing deaths from conditions like heart attack and stroke, we must not get complacent. In recent years the decline in death rates has stalled, and 1 in 4 of us will still die at the hands of these conditions. Survival rates from heart attacks and strokes are now worse in the UK than many other European countries, and these conditions bring misery and heartbreak to millions.

“There is a big opportunity to improve diagnosis and management of the millions of people living with undiagnosed high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, high cholesterol and diabetes – conditions which vastly increase the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. We also need to make the most of research breakthroughs, new technologies like artificial intelligence and transformations in use of data, so these innovations can be translated into better care for the UK’s seven million heart and circulatory disease patients.

“We look forward to working closely with the NHS to help develop a detailed and ambitious new strategy that will ultimately reduce the suffering caused by heart and circulatory diseases. With a bold new approach, we can significantly reduce early deaths from these diseases over the next ten years and transform care for millions.”

Read what we think are the upcoming priorities and challenges for the NHS