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NEW HEALTH CHECK INTRODUCED FOR PATIENTS WITH HEART DISEASE

February 09, 2005 12:00 PM

NHS Greater Glasgow has introduced a new health check to improve the care and treatment of patients with coronary heart disease (CHD).

The new health check will ensure all patients with CHD have access to a comprehensive annual review and assessment carried out by practice nurses who have undergone specialist training.

The assessment is designed, not only to measure symptoms and physical factors such as blood pressure, pulse rates and cholesterol levels but also lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise levels, alcohol consumption and smoking. In addition it will also aim to assess how well the patient is feeling and coping with their illness as many people with chronic diseases suffer from anxiety and depression.

If a practice nurse is concerned that a patient has symptoms which are restricting their activities, has a condition which is worsening or has developed new problems they can refer directly to a number of other health professionals including specialist doctors, psychologists and community dieticians. Patients can also be referred to a number of other community based schemes designed to improve their physical health and well being. These include the exercise referral scheme, smoking cessation groups, alcohol support services and pharmacy compliance schemes which aim to help individuals take the correct dose of the correct medication at the correct time. CHD patients will also be given a ‘My Heart Book' which contains practical advice and contact information on other sources of help and support.

CHD patients across Greater Glasgow will be invited for their initial assessment over the next 6 – 12 months. After this initial appointment patients will be automatically recalled on an annual basis.

Dr Ian Gordon NHS Greater Glasgow's Clinical Lead for Coronary Heart Disease Primary Care Division, said: "This new assessment will significantly improve the quality and consistency of patient care. It will also help reduce the incidence of repeat heart attacks and prevent heart conditions from worsening by ensuring any potential problems and risk factors are identified and addressed early on."

David Clark, Chief Executive, Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland, said: "We welcome the introduction of this new assessment system and believe it will significantly improve the health and quality of life of present and future CHD patients."

The new assessment system will also enable a Coronary Heart Disease Register to be developed. This will provide accurate information on how many people have heart disease across Greater Glasgow and help inform the planning and development of future services.

The new CHD service is part of NHS Greater Glasgow's Heart Managed Clinical Network and also forms a wider strategy to improve the care and management of patients with chronic diseases.

Background Information

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is the term used to describe conditions that happen when the oxygen-rich blood, which flows through the heart's blood vessels (coronary arteries) to nourish the heart muscle, is blocked or interrupted. If the coronary arteries become partially blocked, the patient may experience chests pains called angina, particularly during physical activity and exercise. If the arteries become completely blocked, the patient will have a myocardial infarction, commonly known as a heart attack. A heart attack can cause permanent damage to the heart muscle, and can sometimes be fatal if immediate treatment is not given. In Scotland, an estimated half a million people have CHD, of whom 180,000 require treatment for symptomatic disease. Scotland's death rate remains the second highest in Western Europe. Approximately 12,500 Scots die each year from CHD, many prematurely. Although the number of people who smoke has dropped substantially and the number of people who eat a more balanced diet and who exercise regularly has increased, it is estimated that there are around 40,000 patients with CHD in Greater Glasgow.

Media Contact: Elsbeth Campbell – 0141 211 3891

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