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National strategy needed to combat inequalities that are driving worse outcomes for women when it comes to heart disease – ABHI & LCP

Health Medical and public affairs Health economics outcomes research Demographics

The Association of British HealthTech industries (ABHI) and LCP Health Analytics have produced a paper looking at the health inequalities around heart disease and how to tackle them.

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading cause of death and disability in the UK with 7 million living in the UK with CVD. Women are 50% more likely to receive the wrong initial diagnosis for a heart attack, leading to worse outcomes. Older people and women wait longer for a diagnosis of heart failure compared to younger people and men.

The paper was the result of a roundtable that was convened by the ABHI and LCP to identify the meaningful actions industry can take to drive efforts to address health inequalities.

A cross cutting theme and a fundamental priority discussed at the roundtable was the need to build and strengthen relationships, communication channels and collaborative efforts in the CVD space between industry and NHS.

Key points raised at the session were:

  • The need for a national CVD strategy. Despite CVD standing as the foremost cause of mortality in the UK, the absence of a dedicated national strategy to address it exacerbates existing disparities in access and outcomes as well as the wider determinants of health
  • CVD has traditionally been seen as a ‘male disease’ leading to inequalities in early access for female patients. There is also currently no screening for CVD for women who have had pre-eclampsia, despite this group known to have elevated risk of stroke, cardiac atherosclerotic events, peripheral events, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and cardiovascular related death
  • Better use and understanding of the patient-level data held by the industry and the NHS is essential. This can help policymakers, healthcare leaders and industry to look at the issue not just through a geographical lens but also at how inequities present themselves across various demographics and drive targeted, impactful action

Maisie Borrows, Strategic Growth Lead at LCP Health Analytics, commented: “Heart disease is the biggest killer in England and it’s imperative that a strategic and collaborative approach is taken by the NHS and the industry to better understand and tackle the disease itself, and the variation in outcomes that persist. It’s clear that there are major issues around women not getting diagnosed accurately or early enough. Making better use of data available to us will give us a more insightful picture of the inequities driving poorer CVD outcomes and enable collective efforts to improve CVD health for all.”

You can read the report here

ABHI’s Chief Operating Officer, Jane Lewis, added: "At ABHI, we are deeply committed to driving positive change within the HealthTech sector, and it our ambition to inspire both our members, and the wider industry, to embrace and advance the recommended actions outlined in this paper. By fostering stronger partnerships and communication channels between industry stakeholders and the NHS, we aim to spearhead initiatives that not only acknowledge but actively combat the underlying factors contributing to cardiovascular disease inequities."

Dr Nina Wilson, CEO and Founder, One Woman Health said: “The round table was a landmark event that represents industry's ongoing commitment to reducing health inequalities in cardiovascular disease. This paper brings together the various ambitions present in national health policy and neatly summarises an action plan to address inequality on the basis of gender, ethnicity, geography and socioeconomic deprivation. This International Women’s Day, I am particularly delighted to have contributed to the document's recognition of the opportunities that exist to address female-specific determinants of health previously overlooked.”

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