Headlines: March 7th, 2000

A ten year strategy has been launched to move the UK away from the bottom of the European heart disease league. Some 110,000 people die each year from heart disease and many of the deaths are preventable. The aim is to cut deaths by 40% by 2010.The strategy, known as the National Standards Framework, covers prevention through primary care to emergency and specialist hospital care and rehabilitation. It sets standards for prevention diagnosis and treatment of heart disease. It also sets out what services should be available across the country.

The measures that will be adopted include increasing the number of surgeons from 170 to 280, providing specially trained cardiac nurses for accident and emergency units and setting up chest pain clinics staffed by doctors, nurses and other health professionals.

Implementation of the National Standards Framework will be under the direction of Dr Roger Boyle who will work with health professionals, managers and the voluntary sector. Making one individual accountable for policy implementation is an approach that is being used increasingly. There is a Drugs Czar and there are Nurse Champions as well as Champions for Information Age Government and Customer Focus.

The framework has taken two years to put together by an Expert reference Group which included patients and carers as well as nurses, GPs, consultants, public health specialists and NHS senior managers.