Doctor using stethoscope to check patient's heartbeat

New government taskforce to lay foundations for preventative NHS

Patients in England are set to benefit from a radical new project that will look to identify innovative new methods of preventing cardiovascular disease, as the Department of Health and Social Care appoints the first ever Government Champion for Personalised Prevention.

John Deanfield CBE, a Professor of Cardiology at University College London, has been asked by the health secretary to explore how the potential of technology and data can be properly harnessed to allow people to better look after their health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Professor Deanfield will spearhead a taskforce comprised of experts in everything from policy and technology to economics and behavioural science to deliver a range of recommendations that will lay the foundations for a modern, tailored cardiovascular disease prevention service.

The Government say the recommendations will:

  • Identify breakthroughs in predicting, preventing, diagnosing and treating risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
  • Advise on how public services, businesses and the population can be encouraged to support prevention outside the NHS.
  • Use personalised data to predict and manage disease more effectively.
  • Bring care closer to homes and communities by establishing new partnerships that advance the way preventative services are delivered.
  • Evaluate how this strategy for cardiovascular disease prevention may impact conditions with shared risk factors.

Professor Deanfield said: “I am thrilled to continue my work with the Government on cardiovascular disease prevention. This appointment provides a real opportunity to radically rethink our approach to cardiovascular health and disease prevention and I’m confident we have the right people around the table to do this.

“We intend to build on my recent review of the NHS Health Check and evolve this vision into an ongoing, life-long programme that empowers people to take control of predicting, managing and reducing their lifetime cardiovascular risk.”

Cardiovascular disease and its risk factors are significant contributors to ill-health, economic activity and premature death – approximately 140,000 deaths, up to 250,000 hospital admissions and around £7.4bn can be attributed every single year.

Steve Barclay added: “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.

“These conditions account for a quarter of a million hospital admissions a year, and costs the NHS billions of pounds – this ambitious project could see real impact on those who suffer from, or are at risk of this disease.”

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