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Heart Diseases

Volume 493: debated on Tuesday 2 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what arrangements are in place to consult the voluntary sector as part of his Department’s external review of implementation of the National Service Framework for Coronary Heart Disease and the future of cardiology services; (277036)

(2) when he plans to complete his Department’s assessment of the future profile of cardiology services; and what account that assessment is taking of links between cardiac conditions, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes.

The Department is commissioning an external review of the implementation and delivery of the National Service Framework for Coronary Heart Disease. In addition to this, we will undertake an analysis of the trends in the burden of heart disease and look at how patient expectation and need, technology and working practices are likely to affect future demand and patterns of service provision. We will feed our findings into the discussions of the National Quality Board, which has been set up to oversee the priorities for the service in the future. As part of normal practice, the Department will consult with the voluntary sector. A completion date has not yet been set.

In addition to this, phased implementation of this NHS Health Check Programme began in April 2009. This takes a cross-vascular approach to preventing heart disease, stroke, diabetes and chronic kidney disease.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department has commissioned recent research to establish which population groups have disproportionately higher levels of cardiac and vascular disease. (277046)

The Department’s Policy Research Programme (PRP) funds the South London Stroke Register which monitors trends in the incidence of stroke in different ethnic groups1. The British Women’s Health and Heart Study, also funded by the PRP, is a large, nationally representative cohort study of older women that provides information about the incidence of cardio-vascular disease.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is one of the main agencies though which the Government support medical and clinical research. The MRC is an independent body funded by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

The MRC currently supports a broad portfolio of cardiovascular and stroke research which includes epidemiological and population based programmes. Studies included in the portfolio include:

Professor C Fall, University of Southampton—Maternal nutrition, foetal and childhood growth, and programming of cardiovascular disease and diabetes in South Asians;

Professor D A Lawlor, University of Bristol—The epidemiology of coronary heart disease in women; and

Dr. S Ramsay, University College London—Health inequalities in British men: the impact of socio-economic circumstances at different stages of the life course.

In addition, the MRC, jointly with the British Heart Foundation, had recently agreed to fund a £2.9 million research programme led by Professor J Danesh at University College London looking at the interplay of genetic, biochemical and lifestyle factors on coronary heart disease incidence in populations across Europe.

1 Recent data from the South London Stroke Register were published last year in the Journal of the American Heart Association (“Ethnic Group Disparities in 10-Year Trends in Stroke Incidence and Vascular Risk Factors”). The article is available online at: