Thank you for contacting me about heart disease, and heart failure.
Any constituent who has specific concerns or needs in relation to this issue and who feels I might be able to help should contact my office to discuss raising such individual issues as an individual case.
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 the 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.
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.
I will be doing my best to visit as many stands as possible during the Conservative Conference.
NHS Electives Backlog: The need to focus on the response to the pandemic meant resources were diverted to tackling the pandemic, resulting now in a significant backlog in elective care. That is why I am delighted that the Government is investing an additional £12 billion per year over the next three years in health and social care. I welcome the Government’s commitment to tackling the elective backlog through the biggest catch up programme in the NHS’s history. £2 billion will be spent this year, double the previous commitment, with an additional £8 billion is to be spent in the following three years. This welcome funding could deliver the equivalent of around 9 million more checks, scans and procedures and will mean NHS England can aim to deliver around 30 per cent more elective activity by 2024-25 than before the pandemic.
As we emerge from the pandemic, I will of course continue to work with my colleagues in the Department of Health and Social Care to ensure patients receive treatment as quickly as possible.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP