There is no standardised format for a vascular risk assessment currently in use within the primary care system. However, we do know that many of the elements of the vascular check proposed in “Putting Prevention First” are offered to patients. Copies of this publication are available in the Library. These are not recorded under the heading of vascular risk assessment, but it is possible to make some estimates on the basis of samples of primary care data sets. For example, using a sample of 1.14 million general practice records for adults aged 40 to 74 provided by Q Research, relating to 2007, we can estimate numbers in that age group in England who have records of the four measures we are proposing should form part of a vascular risk assessment. These measures are cholesterol, smoking status, body mass index and blood pressure.
We estimate that in the five years between 2002 and 2007 an average of 620,000 adults per annum will have undergone all four measures. This excludes people who already have one or more vascular diseases because they would not be eligible for primary prevention, which is what the vascular risk assessments are intended for. In addition, from the same data we estimate that 1.2 million people are being prescribed statins for primary prevention of disease and we can assume that each of these is likely to have undergone at least some of the elements of the proposed vascular risk assessment when the initial decision to prescribe statins was made.