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CVD deaths increase: Pharmacy has a role to play, says negotiator


CVD deaths increase: Pharmacy has a role to play, says negotiator

Pharmacies have a significant role to play in protecting the nation’s heart health, Community Pharmacy England has said after the British Heart Foundation published an analysis pointing to a spike in deaths from cardiovascular disease since the Covid-19 pandemic began.  

The BHF analysis found that since February 2020 there have been a total of 96,540 excess deaths from cardiovascular conditions – more than 500 a week.

The charity said that Covid-19 infections were responsible for higher excess deaths in the first year of the pandemic, the trend has persisted even as cases have gone down. It cited “other major factors” driving the increase “including the severe, ongoing disruption to NHS heart care, and Covid-19 increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke”.

CPE director of NHS services Alastair Buxton said: “It is concerning to hear that there have been tens of thousands of preventable deaths from cardiovascular disease since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We share BHF’s desire to see more action on preventing the causes of CVD and, subject to appropriate funding being in place, community pharmacy teams are well placed to play a role in this. 

“With more than 1.1 million people receiving a heart blood pressure check in their local pharmacy since October 2021, the Hypertension Case-Finding Service has already begun making a big difference to the health of individuals and supports the NHS Long Term Plan’s ambition for prevention of cardiovascular disease.”

BHF chief executive Charmaine Griffiths commented: “It is deeply troubling that so many more people with cardiovascular disease have lost their lives over the last three years.

“For years, it has been clear that we are firmly in the grip of a heart attack and stroke emergency. If little changes, we could continue to see a sustained rise in death rates from cardiovascular conditions that undoes decades of scientific progress to reduce the number of people who die of a heart attack or stroke.

“There is no time to waste – Government must take control of this crisis to give heart patients and their loved ones hope of a better and healthier future.

“It can do this by prioritising NHS heart care, better preventing heart disease and stroke, and powering science to unlock future treatments and cures.”

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