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Thursday, 10 February, 2000, 13:19 GMT
Heart packs to attack disease

GP Every GP in Scotland will get a heart pack

Every medical practice in Scotland is to be sent a special package in an effort to reduce the death toll from heart disease.

The "heart pack" is being described as a yellow pages of treatment guidelines.

It means that GPs and nurses will have at their fingertips a guide to all of the clinical information on treating coronary heart disease in an instantly accessible form.

The packs should allow patients who have already had heart attacks or serious problems to get the best advice on diet, treatment and exercise.

Rates of heart illness have started to fall, but latest figures show 13,000 Scots died from the illness in 1998 alone.

Reduction in deaths

The initiative is being backed by the Scottish Executive. Health minister Susan Deacon, who formally launched the pack, said: "Coronary heart disease remains a national priority.

"The latest figures show a marked reduction in premature death. Wide ranging initiatives are being pursued to ensure even more progress is made.

"These include tackling lifestyle factors that contribute to the increased risk of heart disease and the delivery and design of services to ensure that patients have access to the highest standards of care."

Susan Deacon Susan Deacon: "Tackling disease is a priority"
The heart packs are being paid for by drug companies. The contents were written by three of the key organisations involved in the fight against heart disease.

One of them is the Scottish Inter-collegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN). Chairman Professor Lewis Ritchie said: "Coronary heart disease continues to be a major scourge of the Scots.

"It is clear that a disease which has many causes will require a raft of measures to make significant inroads and that future progress in combating this disease will depend upon a sustained commitment from us all to make this happen."

'Life-enhancing messages'

The Royal College of General Practioners will be sending out the heart packs to doctors.

Director of guideline initiatives Dr Patricia Donald said they should help patients who have already had a heart attack.

"The heart pack offfers something for everyone.

"It offers clear and life-enhancing messages which will lead to a more consistent approach to the care of patients throughout the country."

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See also:
20 Jan 00 |  Health
Mondays 'bring heart attacks'
10 Nov 99 |  Health
Heart attacks likely to strike husband and wife
30 Nov 99 |  Health
Heart attacks `more dangerous in winter'
07 May 99 |  Health
Glasgow: The world's heart attack capital
26 Mar 99 |  Health
Heart patients'dying unnecessarily'

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