UK National Screening Committee backs CVD screening

The DoH is determining if its national cardiovascular disease (CVD) screening programme is feasible, despite prime minister Gordon Brown announcing the plans in January.

Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown

The UK National Screening Committee (NSC) has released guidance on how CVD screening would operate.

For an average practice of 6,000 patients, this would result in 140 half-an-hour screening sessions per year, equivalent to three to four per week. 

The NSC's latest report says a population-wide screening programme is feasible, ‘even in the most deprived inner-city practices'.

The evidence recommends conducting a vascular risk assessment on all patients aged 40-74, every five years. 

The NSC calculates that the average practice would diagnose four new cases of diabetes mellitus and 17 new diagnoses of impaired glucose regulation per year.

Mr Brown suggested in January that screening for CVD, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, stroke risk and chronic lung diseases would become available to anyone. 

A DoH spokeswoman said economic modelling work to look at the feasibility of vascular risk screening is underway.

But Professor Richard Hobbs, chairman of the Primary Care Cardiovascular Society, said: ‘It would be more appropriate to get a high-risk screening programme off the ground first, and then see if a national programme could be cost-effective.' 

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said CVD screening would require a significant increase in GP workload and resources.

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