Brown's screening plans 'not costed or planned'

Prime minister Gordon Brown's national cardiovascular screening programme that was unveiled last month was not costed or planned, according to the Conservative Party.

The prime minister promised that an NHS cardiovascular screening programme would be available for all patients in England by 2011.

The proposals will allow anyone, regardless of age and risk profile, the chance to be screened for diabetes, chronic kidney disease (CKD), chronic lung diseases, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke risk.

But responses to parliamentary questions submitted by the Conservative Party shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley have cast doubt on the prime minister's plans.

Mr Brown failed to cost his proposals or discuss them with the DoH, say the Conservatives. Only now has the DoH started to assess the costs and benefits of the programme.

It also appears that the screening pledge was heavily exaggerated.

In answers to parliamentary questions on Mr Brown's announcement, the DoH has not made reference to specific screening for CVD, diabetes, CKD or stroke.

Instead the DoH has talked about a 'vascular screening programme to identify people's levels of risk for cardiac disease'. This will be 'an assessment of risk based on a range of known predictive factors including gender, BMI, high BP and cholesterol and glucose'.

Public health minister Dawn Primarolo said that a 'fully costed and deliverable' plan would be 'brought forward' by the health secretary in the next few weeks.

'It will put far better information and control into the hands of patients and their clinicians,' she added.

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