A major new health plan to tackle heart disease is underway in Wales.
Launched by health minister Lesley Griffiths, it will focus on prevention, earlier diagnosis and treatment to reduce incidence of cardiac disease.
'Together for health - a Cardiac Delivery Plan' outlines how services will be improved across Wales.
Circulatory disease accounts for more than 10,000 deaths every year in Wales and is the country’s largest cause of deaths. Of these, 4,700 are from coronary heart disease.
Reducing the incidence of cardiac disease is a key commitment in the Welsh Government's Programme for Government and its five-year plan for the NHS, 'Together for Health'.
Together for health - a Cardiac Delivery Plan aims to:
• Prevent cardiac disease through educating people about the importance of healthy lifestyles and to manage existing conditions with medication
• Detect disease sooner through identifying those at risk of avoidable cardiac disease, managing that risk effectively and detecting cardiac disease where it occurs
• Provide fast, effective treatment and care to improve long-term outcome for patients
• Provide on-going support to help patients manage the impact of cardiac disease
Health minister, Lesley Griffiths said: "There have been significant improvements to cardiac care in Wales in recent years. While fewer people die prematurely from heart attacks in Wales now, it still remains one of Wales' biggest killers.
"We must do more to prevent avoidable cardiac disease, identify those at risk and manage that risk well. Where cardiac disease does occur, we want to focus on prompt diagnosis and the best treatment.
"This new plan outlines how we as Government, the NHS, and individuals themselves have a role to play in reducing cardiac disease."
Cardiologist and medical director of NHS Wales, Dr Chris Jones, said: "Coronary heart disease is a largely preventable condition with a risk of occurrence that increases with age.
"That risk can be reduced by simple lifestyle changes, such as not smoking, drinking alcohol sensibly, exercising regularly and eating a healthy, balanced diet to reduce the risk of obesity - a major contributory factor increasing the risk of diabetes and eventually cardiac disease."
Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation said: "We welcome the publication of this consultation, particularly in light of the financial pressures on the health service. We will expect this plan to outline how the Welsh Government will tackle early prevention and ongoing care of heart disease and will actively engage in the consultation, to ensure that people in Wales receive the best prevention support and ongoing cardiac care."
'Together for Health - a Cardiac Delivery Plan' is now subject to a 12-week consultation. The consultation is available on the Welsh Government website
http://wales.gov.uk/consultations/healthsocialcare/cardiac/?lang=en. The consultation closes on 26 October 2012.