The updated guideline supports lowering total cholesterol to 4 mmol/l in patients with hyperlipidaemia instead of 5 mmol/l as stated in the GMS quality framework.
Surrey GP Dr John Pittard, a member of the Primary Care Cardiovascular Society (PCCS), said: ‘On an individual high-risk basis it is best to lower cholesterol as much as possible in patients.
The GMS contract is formed to get the bulk of the patients, but it doesn’t stop you from targeting lower cholesterol levels.’
Last week, the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh criticised an over reliance on statins and called for GPs to consider lifestyle measures to achieve cholesterol targets.
But Dr Sarah Jarvis, west London GP and member of the PCCS, said the JBS2 guideline is effective and denied an over- dependency on statins.
‘We cannot afford not to treat these people,’ she said. ‘Statins are extremely cost effective and do not place a financial burden on the NHS. In an ideal world we would love to treat patients by making lifestyle changes rather than prescribing drugs, but there is simply not enough time or resources available to do this.’