Working in Parliament to help heart disease patients

Plenty of work in Parliament is between MPs of differing parties working together. One avenue for such collaboration is through All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs).

These Groups give ways for parliamentarians to raise important issues together, and ensure greater co-ordination between ministers and key stakeholders in a particular sector. In recent months a whole host of Groups have been set up again after the General Election.

I’m delighted to be a Vice Chair of the APPG on Heart Disease, which seeks to help ensure everyone living with cardiovascular disease (CVD) has access to high quality, integrated health and social care services.

The Group has now been reconstituted, and seeks to establish CVD as a political priority, provide information about diagnosis and treatment for people living with CVD and how these can be improved, as well as monitoring the impact of government decisions on CVD and ensuring policies are evidence-based and patient-centred.

Figures from the British Heart Foundation, who provide support to the Group in the form of the secretariat, show that there are approximately 11,500 people living with heart disease and stroke in Crawley.

CVD is a devastating condition which is responsible for over a quarter of all UK deaths, and is the most common cause of hospital admission for people over 65.

I’m glad that the Group is restarting its activity in the new parliamentary session and am pleased to continue supporting the British Heart Foundation’s work to support people burdened by heart disease and stroke, and find new ways of improving care in Crawley and throughout our country.

At the recent meeting I was pleased to meet with BHF staff including their Public Affairs Officer, Crawley resident Ian Pendlington, to find out more about local CVD levels and ways to improve patient care.

It’s vital that we work together to ensure that people living with cardiovascular disease in Crawley get access to the care and support they need.

Henry Smith MP