Thank you for contacting me about actions being taken to prevent heart disease & high blood pressure and reduce waiting times for cardiac care.
I recognise the difficulties facing the Urgent and Emergency Care (UEC) system, including ambulance response times for heart attacks. In 2021/22, NHS England and Improvement invested £4.5 million to support improvements and reduce variation in cardiac care across the service.
For 2022/23, NHS England and Improvement have allocated an additional £150 million to support ambulance services to reduce response times through additional call handler recruitment, retention and other measures.
This is in addition to funding to tackle the backlog of care, including the £2.3 billion for diagnostic activity which will help to improve access to heart scans and reduce waiting lists for cardiac services. There have been improvements in all response time categories in both April and May, with average response times to category 2 emergency calls —such as strokes and heart attacks—reduced by about 11 minutes and 24 seconds in May alone. However, I acknowledge there is more to be done to improve performance.
Prevention and early detection of cardiovascular disease is vital and the NHS Health Check programme continues to facilitate this. I understand that the Department of Health and Social Care is also working with NHS England to improve the detection, monitoring and treatment of atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
The Government has also committed to a salt reduction programme to reduce the consumption of salt and the associated health risks from hypertension/high blood pressure.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.