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Top priority for fighting killer diseases
The Scottish Government today launched a consultation on tackling two of Scotland's biggest killer diseases.
Coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke still claim the lives of thousands of Scots every year, despite significant progress to cut death rates in recent years.
Public Health Minister Shona Robison said fresh focus was needed to further reduce CHD and stroke deaths.
Between 1997 and 2006, CHD deaths fell by 32 per cent from 14,012 to 9,532, while stroke deaths fell by 45 per cent, from 9,959 to 5,479.
But progress among younger age groups and in the most deprived parts of Scotland has been less rapid, prompting the need for renewed action.
Key issues for discussion include:
How the range and quality of CHD and stroke services can be improved, with an emphasis on securing earlier diagnosis and better care
Reducing health inequalities that mean people in Scotland's most deprived communities are more likely to die from CHD and stroke than those in more affluent areas
How new technology can be used to improve the infrastructure to support CHD and stroke services
Tackling inherited cardiac conditions, including the development of a free heart screening service for amateur athletes
Ms Robison, said:
"Coronary heart disease and stroke remain two of Scotland's biggest killers. I welcome the progress that has been made, but there's no doubt that we need a long term action plan to further drive down rates of CHD and stroke.
"This Government is already taking bold action to cut levels of obesity, smoking and alcohol misuse, which all contribute to CHD and stroke prevalence.
"As well as taking into account preventative measures like encouraging healthy lifestyles, we want to eradicate as far as possible the health inequalities that still exist and ensure that patients receive the best quality of care.
"And through our health action plan, Better Health, Better Care, we're committed to providing patients with the best possible treatment and care.
"This consultation seeks to gather a range of views on how we can further improve services and make them more responsive to patient needs and wishes.
"We will then draw on these to produce an action plan that will form the core of the revised strategy, which we'll publish before the end of this year."
The consultation, Better Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke Care, starts today and will run until October 24.
In December 2007, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Nicola Sturgeon, launched the Scottish Government's health action plan, Better Health, Better Care, which included a commitment to refresh the Government's CHD and stroke strategy, in line with the general principles around long-term conditions outlined in the report.
In June this year, the Scottish Government launched its Obesity Action Plan, backed with an additional 40 million pounds of new funding, to take to £56.5 million over the next three years its investment in encouraging healthy eating and physical activity.