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Call for greater follow-up care for heart attack patients

HEART UK, the Nation's Cholesterol Charity - is calling for co-ordinated action to improve post-event care for people who have heart attacks.

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the UK's biggest killer - around one in five men and one in seven women die from the disease. CHD causes around 94,000 deaths in the UK each year.

Encouragingly, in the last 10 years there has been a 50% reduction in mortality from CHD. This is largely due to prompt care for patients when they've had a heart attack with many more specialist centres and wider use of clot-busting drugs.  Secondary prevention has also improved with a greater emphasis on prescribing drugs which lower cholesterol among those at risk. 

However, fewer than 50% of patients receive cardiac rehabilitation despite the fact that NICE guidelines recommend this is offered to all patients. 

MPs met today with representatives from HEART UK to find out more about heart disease services in their individual constituencies and the importance of improving post-event care for patients. 

By getting the treatment and support given to patients after an event right, the NHS will not only improve the experience and outcomes for patients, but also save money which could contribute to the £20 billion efficiency savings that the NHS must deliver between 2011 and 2014.

Chris Ruane MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Heart Disease, said, "These figures speak for themselves. We've achieved a great deal in combating heart disease over the last decade, but there's still plenty of room for improvement. It's a national shame that cardiac rehabilitation is still not being offered to all eligible patients in the UK. We need proper rehabilitation services across the country, to help heart attack patients get back on their feet, and leading their lives to the full."

Jules Payne, Chief Executive of HEART UK said, "HEART UK is grateful to all the MPs who came today, who showed their interest in improving outcomes for people with heart disease. Co-ordination across the NHS, Public Health England and social care services is vital at both a national and local level to continue to deliver improved outcomes for heart disease and tackle the challenge of post-event care. A proper rollout of cardiac rehabilitation in all areas of the UK will help ensure improved care for patients who have already suffered a heart attack, and help make savings in the longer term."