In Manchester Withington, the British Heart Foundation have estimated the numbers of people affected by heart conditions:
Around 9,300 people are living with heart and circulatory diseases
2,800 living with coronary heart disease
1,500 stroke survivors
870 diagnosed with heart failure
The pandemic has increased the risk of people not being diagnosed. UK wide, an estimated two million people missed out on NHS health checks between April 2020 and February 2022, of whom 500,000 would have been found to have raised blood pressure and 400,000 would have been found to be at risk of a heart attack or a stroke in the next 10 years.
But Ministers cannot just blame the pandemic. Waiting lists were at a record high before 2020 and the NHS was short of 100,000 staff.
We must place a greater focus on prevention by recovering NHS health checks – introduced under the Labour Government in 2009 – which provide crucial evidence for spotting diseases early on, not least cardiovascular disease. We need an holistic approach to public health, not more cuts to budgets, and within that a strategy to deal with heart and circulatory diseases.
We need a Government that will work relentlessly to improve cardiovascular care and reduce NHS backlogs. Ministers must urgently bring forward a comprehensive and long-term workforce strategy to ensure our health service has the staff it needs to provide the care patients expect and deserve.