Thank you for contacting me about heart disease, and heart failure.
Heart and circulatory disease, also known as cardiovascular disease (CVD), causes a quarter of all deaths in the UK and is the largest cause of premature mortality in deprived areas. This is the single biggest area where the NHS can save lives over the next 10 years.
I welcome goals set out in the NHS Long Term Plan which seek to target this, including preventing up to 150,000 heart attacks, strokes, and dementia cases over the next 10 years, working with partners to improve community first response and build defibrillator networks to improve survival from out of hospital cardiac arrest, and working to ensure up to 85 per cent of those eligible are accessing cardiac rehabilitation care by 2028, among the best in Europe. NHS England and NHS Improvement are investing £4.5 million in 2012/22 to support whole pathway improvements in cardiac networks and to reduce variation in care across the service. Further, the NHS is supporting patients to better understand their condition, so that they can be supported to self-manage at home.
I know that, in 2010, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence published guidelines which recommended that patients with suspected heart failure should be seen by a specialist, inside a fortnight in urgent cases. I agree that these targets are important, as part of the wider work to reduce deaths from cardiovascular conditions.
I urge anybody requiring urgent treatment or in need of immediate help to continue to seek that support through NHS 111, 999, or GP services where appropriate. The NHS is facing unprecedented pressure as it faces down the pandemic. I know that my colleagues in the Department of Health and Social Care are doing all they can to support the health service, recognising the exceptional efforts being made by health and care staff. All work to raise awareness of symptoms, including by the British Heart Foundation, is vital as part of efforts to ensure early and rapid diagnosis and treatment.
As we emerge from the pandemic, I will of course continue to work with my colleagues in the Department of Health and Social Care as well as with our local NHS services to ensure patients receive treatment as quickly as possible.
I am grateful to constituents who invited me to attend the British Heart Foundation's event at the Conservative Party Conference. Whilst I do not attend conference as I prefer to spend the time working for constituents locally, I know what good work the British Heart Foundation does to advocate for those with heart conditions and their families, and I can assure you I will continue to work to ensure constituents get the best possible heart health care.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.