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Government considering radical new approach to prevent life-threatening cardiovascular disease

By March 10, 2023No Comments

People across England stand to benefit from a project to identify radical new approaches to prevent cardiovascular disease and reduce pressure on the NHS, following the appointment of Professor John Deanfield as Government Champion for Personalised Prevention.

Professor Deanfield – a professor of cardiology at University College London and led a review into the NHS Health Check in 2021 – has been asked by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to explore and expand the role of technology, so people can better look after their health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The Government Champion for Personalised Prevention will lead a taskforce with expertise on health policy, health technology, behavioural science, big data and health economics. His taskforce will develop a set of evidence-based recommendations to deliver a vision for a modern, personalised cardiovascular disease prevention service.

They will explore a range of ideas, including the use of personalised data to better predict and prevent ill health. They’ll also look at how the latest health technology could be used to predict, prevent, diagnose and treat key risk factors for cardiovascular disease and other health conditions.

Cardiovascular disease and its risk factors are major drivers of ill-health, economic inactivity and premature death. It accounts for up to 250,000 hospital admissions and around 140,000 deaths in England each year and costs the NHS approximately £7.4 billion annually.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Steve Barclay, said: “Technology is crucial to a forward-looking, modern NHS, and Professor Deanfield’s work will help us understand how people across the country could use it in their day-to-day lives and prevent cardiovascular disease.”

The appointment is expected to last at least 6 months. He will put forward a series of recommendations to government following his work, which will:

  • identify new ways of predicting, preventing, diagnosing and treating major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, using the latest health technology, intelligence and data
  • advise on how individuals, businesses and public services could be incentivised to support prevention outside of the NHS
  • predict and manage disease more effectively using personalised data
  • create new partnerships to innovate the way in which we deliver preventative services, bringing care closer to home and communities
  • identify how this vision for cardiovascular disease prevention might impact on conditions with shared risk factors, such as diabetes and dementia

The appointment of Professor Deanfield builds on the other tech initiatives the government is exploring. These include an NHS Digital Health Check trial in Cornwall. Professor Deanfield’s appointment coincides with the publication of the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) quarterly NHS Health Check data, England’s cardiovascular disease prevention scheme.

It shows 677,118 offers were made and 271,899 checks carried out in quarter 3 in 2022 to 2023, up from 300,877 and 136,100 respectively in the same quarter in 2021 to 2022.


Natalie Creaney