BHF Cymru is highlighting why some of Wales’ biggest killers needs to remain a top priority for the Welsh Government and is calling on all political parties to commit to a bold heart and circulatory disease plan ahead of this year’s Senedd election.
Heart and circulatory diseases cause around 25 deaths each day in Wales. Around 340,000 people are living with these conditions, which can devastate lives.
BHF Cymru has written a new heart and circulatory disease plan for Wales in collaboration with over 70 clinicians as well as patients and members of the public. The charity strongly believes disease specific planning must feature in political parties’ manifesto promises to provide the best possible care for the people of Wales.
In 2017 the Wales Cardiac Network implemented a plan for the next five years of care for people with heart disease. But this plan comes to an end this year and so far, there is no commitment by Welsh Government for a renewed plan.
Like all health services across Wales, cardiology has been impacted by COVID-19. There’s been an impact on all parts of the heart and circulatory disease pathway, including deferral of diagnoses and therapeutic interventions; and reduced access to specialist care in the community and identification and management of risk factors, including high blood pressure.
These impacts are not being felt equally across the country. The pandemic is serving to highlight health inequalities and regional variation, feeding the postcode lottery for patients accessing services and treatments.
BHF Cymru is calling for a new heart plan for Wales. It has worked with more than 70 clinical professionals to draft a plan which has identified three key priorities:
- To tackle the risk factors for heart and circulatory diseases
- To ensure everyone has access to timely diagnosis, treatment and care
- Improved use and access to data
Gemma Roberts Policy and Public Affairs Manager at BHF Cymru said: “An ageing population, an increase in many risk factors and widening health inequalities are all likely to increase the burden of heart and circulatory disease in Wales.
“Now, more than ever, to save lives which could be lost to heart and circulatory diseases and reduce the burden on the health of our nation, we need to see commitments to a new plan. The new heart and circulatory disease plan must not only restore services impacted by COVID-19; effective action is required to improve services for patients for the next five years.”