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Heart checks for over 40s

A national screening programme to identify vulnerability to heart attack and strokes could save 2,000 lives a year, say the Department of Health.

Heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease affect the lives of more than four million people and kill 170,00 each year.

The Department of Health believe that a vascular check programme for everyone aged 40-74 years could improve disease detection.

A blood cholesterol test is to be added to the usual age, gender, family history, weight and blood pressure measurements.

Each patient will receive a personal assessment report, setting out personal risk and how to reduce it.

Patients at high risk may be assisted in joining a weight management programme or stop smoking service.

Those at highest risk may also require preventative medication with statins or blood pressure treatment.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson said: “As we look to the future of the NHS in its 60th anniversary year, our vision is to create a modern service that meets the unique challenges of today's society.

“The NHS is becoming more personal and responsive to individual needs; becoming as good at prevention and keeping people healthy as it is at providing care and cures; and able to offer the information and support people need to make healthy choices.”

Anne Mackie, director of the UK National Screening Committee, said: “The UK National Screening Committee welcomes the priority that the government has placed on implementing its recommendations in England.

“We will particularly focus on how we can make this accessible to the wide population and reduce inequalities in vascular health.”

Department of Health