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Sunday 16th June 2019

Experts urge England to improve cholesterol care

13th April 2011

A leading expert has suggested that not enough is being done in England to implement National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommendations on familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH).

The guidelines were published in August 2008 but in an editorial entitled “a developing English scandal” in the British Journal of Cardiology, GP Dr Jonathan Morrell says the NHS in England lags behind the rest of the UK when it comes to identifying and treating patients with the inherited condition.

He suggested the approach in England contrasted with Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, where significant progress has been made.

The guidelines recommend early treatment with statins and lifestyle changes that can help to lower the risk of heart disease and improve life expectancy.

But a survey of 70% of primary care trusts (PCTs) in England, carried out by the charity Heart UK, found that many PCTs admitted to a lack of formal planning for FH and incomplete knowledge about relevant FH services.

Overall, 60% of the surveyed PCTs said they do not have written plans to support implementation of the NICE guidance on FH, and only 5% provided evidence of written plans to support implementation.

Dr Morrell, who is also the Chairman of Heart UK's FH Guideline Implementation Team, said: “Of course, NICE guidelines are not compulsory, but we do recognise them as best clinical practice.

“As a result of this study, my colleagues at HEART UK and I have legitimate concerns that, if such guidance is not being implemented, patients cannot enjoy access to the best clinical diagnosis and care.”


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