Valve Week 23
Wednesday 20th September 2023
On September 12th, Heart Valve Voice visited the Palace of Westminster as part of Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week 2023 in an attempt to raise awareness of heart valve disease. We parked the Your Heart Matters Bus in New Palace Yard and offered stethoscope checks to MPs and staff to highlight the importance of early detection of the disease.
The event was a celebration of Valve Week and our partnership with Valve for Life, which has seen us educate the public on the signs and symptoms of this common, serious, but treatable condition. Throughout the partnership, we have listened to thousands of hearts and educated millions of people along the way.
On the day, we listened to 353 hearts, and spoke to 51 MPs and Members of the House of Lords about valve disease, how it is detected and how we can improve the pathway. MPs pledged their support to promoting early detection, and will now work with Heart Valve Voice and Valve for Life to improve access to lifesaving stethoscope checks.
Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Heart Valve Disease, Steve McCabe MP, said “I am living proof of how treatable this disease is. I was diagnosed during a routine health check, and with the disease being caught early, I was able to receive my life-saving surgery. It was great to see Members from across the house come together and pledge to improve the detection and diagnosis of the disease. This simple stethoscope check saved my life, and it could save theirs too.”
Leading clinicians from across the UK came together to help support the event and speak to MPs about the challenges they face in delivering optimal pathways. Interventional Cardiologist and Director of the UK Valve for Life programme, Dr Jonathan Byrne, said “Thank you Heart Valve Voice and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Heart Valve Disease for supporting this event. Throughout the last year, we have committed to educating the public on the red-flag symptoms of valve disease and connecting those symptoms to a simple stethoscope check. The event was a fantastic celebration of our partnership.”
Now, Heart Valve Voice will be working with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Heart Valve Disease and senior NHS decision-makers to understand how we can improve access to these life-saving checks. In October, the All-Party Group will invite stakeholders from across the pathway to Parliament to discuss the next steps in improving the detection, diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
Heart Valve Voice Executive Director, Wil Woan, said “This year’s message for Valve Week was ‘Listen To Your Heart’ and I can’t think of a better way to promote that message than to speak to senior decision-makers about it. The day was about awareness and education, and it was great to see so many people wanting to learn about valve disease and how to identify the symptoms in themselves and their loved ones. This event will be a launchpad for future work with the APPG, and I look forward to seeing what we can achieve together. Thank you to the patients, clinicians and volunteers for helping to make it happen.