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State of a Nation: Heart Valve Disease in Wales

State of a Nation: Heart Valve Disease in Wales

Heart Valve Voice today launches its report;
 ‘State of the Nation: Heart Valve Disease in Wales’

Thursday 19th September 2019

We're proud to be launching our report ‘State of the Nation: Heart Valve Disease in Wales’ today during European Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week. The new report sets outs recommendations for early diagnosis and treatment services in Wales.

In the UK, there has been progress made over past few years in areas of diagnosing and treating patients with heart valve disease. However, much more work is needed to be done to ensure that patients in Wales receive the best possible care and support. The report sets out recommendations and quality statements to achieve early diagnosis and timely treatment meaning an improvement in the quality of life for patients who are affected by the condition. Understanding why variations in services occur and learning from areas of best practice is one of the first steps.

In Wales, cardiovascular disease is the biggest killer with more than 9,000 deaths each year – an average of 25 each day. Recent efforts by NHS Wales and the Welsh Government have attempted to address this, with the launch of Together for Health – a Heart Disease Delivery Plan (2013), and the refreshed Heart Conditions Delivery Plan (2017). However, despite this recognition of the need to improve cardiac care, there has been little-to-no focus on heart valve disease in Wales.

There has been much support from the Welsh Government in the last decade, through the Ageing Well in Wales initiative, which has focused their work on an ageing population and ensuring people are continuing to have a good quality of life in later years. Heart Valve Voice hopes that this report highlights the need for heart valve disease patients to also be considered in those initiative and policy making.

“Heart Valve Voice is on a mission to improve the diagnosis, treatment and management of heart valve disease in the UK. This report is significant for Welsh healthcare as it highlights the gap in the system for heart valve disease. The recommendations set forward will really improve the experiences of heart valve disease patients on the pathway in Wales.” Commented Dave Smith, Consultant Cardiologist at Morriston Hospital in Swansea.

With a Welsh population that is already older than the UK average and the predicted increase in the over 65 year old population, together with the fact that the risk of developing heart valve disease increasing with age, NHS Wales is going to experience a significant rise in the number of cases in the next decade. This report sets in place guidelines through all the different steps of the healthcare system to make sure that these patients are appropriately cared for and are diagnosed early with access to secondary care teams for treatments.

Aprmin Yohana, Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon from Morriston Hospital in Swansea expressed, “By bringing together leading clinicians and policy makers, Heart Valve Voice is ensuring the recommendations are achievable in managing heart valve disease and improving the quality of patients’ experiences in NHS Wales. I commend Heart Valve Voice for facilitating a report that sets out how services might be improved and putting the patients’ access of care pathways as its focus”

Chief Executive of Heart Valve Voice, Wil Woan added “We decided to launch this report during the European Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week which sees activities taking place across seven European countries and I’m pleased that this report will also serve as a benchmark for other healthcare systems”

Read the report in full here