Society welcomes new Scottish Heart Disease: Action Plan

The Society welcomes publication of the Scottish Government’s new ‘Heart disease: action plan’. The action plan sets out the Government’s priorities and the actions they will take to minimise preventable heart disease and ensure equitable and timely treatment for people with suspected heart disease in Scotland.

The Society contributed views during development of the plan, and we are pleased to see the role of clinical pharmacologists highlighted as an important part of the workforce to help assist with delivering for heart disease patients. Clinical pharmacologists play a key role in helping to manage hypertension in Scotland, one of the ways they do this is through specialist hypertension centres working in collaboration with primary care.

In our response, we also highlighted the need for an integrated approach (that links primary and secondary care) to ensure appropriate monitoring and care for people with cardiovascular risk factors. We are pleased to see that tele-monitoring is highlighted, and hope this will lead to greater investment in research into remote management and support for those (such as the elderly and those with sensory deficits) who may struggle with technology.

We also emphasised the importance of tackling the biggest and most important challenge to Scottish heart health – the prevention of heart attacks and strokes. Prevention is a key focus of the plan, but the importance of a focus on child health (to support early prevention) should be addressed.

The action plan represents an opportunity to minimise preventable heart disease. The Scottish government recognises that investing in a skilled and supported workforce will be key to delivering these ambitions – and investing in clinical pharmacology will be an important part of this.

Professor David Webb, Centre for Cardiovascular Science, The University of Edinburgh, and Past President of the Society, said:

I am delighted to see that clinical pharmacology is clearly recognised as playing an important role in delivering the Scottish heart plan.

Clinical pharmacologists run specialist hypertension centres working with primary care in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow. The teams at these centres manage patients with complex hypertension, provide guidelines for management of hypertension in primary care, and support optimal prescribing practice through formulary committees, drug & therapeutics committees and the Scottish Medicines Consortium. Scottish clinical pharmacologists are ready and able to work with the government to deliver this action plan – and further investment in the specialty will future-proof these ambitions.

I am also pleased to see the focus on ‘prevention’ in this plan. Given the levels of risk factors in Scotland, including high levels of deprivation, now is our chance to address the impact of health inequalities that are rightly recognised in the strategy.

You can read the Society’s response to the consultation in full here.

Published: 29 Mar 2021 in Society news