MSPs from the Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit Committee are to visit Glasgow next month as part of a parliamentary inquiry into cardiology services in Scotland.
The Holyrood politicians will, in particular, investigate the barriers which prevent people from Scotland’s more deprived communities and from certain ethnic minority communities from being diagnosed early and treated quickly by the NHS.
With coronary heart disease ranked as Scotland’s second biggest killer after cancer, the MSPs will look at why some people have substantially less access to cardiology services and how these services can be delivered more efficiently and effectively.
Committee Convener Iain Gray MSP said:
“While death rates from all types of heart disease in Scotland have fallen by around 40 per cent over the last ten years, ours still remains the highest in Western Europe - and the figures are even higher for Scottish men, some of our ethnic groups and for people living in our most deprived areas.
“For those reasons, our committee feels strongly about getting out of Edinburgh to go and hear directly from patients and health professionals in the NHS. “Our committee is to investigate why some patients have poorer access to cardiology services than others, and whether better value for money could be achieved in the delivery of these services.”
Mr Gray added:
“It is a stark fact that procedure rates for angioplasty and the likes are significantly lower in our most deprived areas in Scotland with 20 per cent fewer treatments on the NHS than would be expected. At the other end of the scale, figures from Audit Scotland tell us that patients in our most affluent areas have a 60 per cent higher rate of access to cardiology services, which implies that access to treatment is far from equitable.
“We recognise that patients and health professionals alike have a role to play in improving cardiology services, so the morning of our visit will include time spent in Drumchapel with the Keep Well project and with staff and patients from the South Asian Anticipatory Care Pilot project. We will also hear about the experiences of frontline GPs who work in some of Scotland’s most deprived areas, and we will meet with Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland.
“The afternoon will see a full, formal committee meeting in the Glasgow City Chambers with evidence from heart charities such as the British Heart Foundation, heath boards such as NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and the Scottish Government.”
The committee expects to publish the findings from its inquiry in Cardiology Services after the summer recess.
Details of the Glasgow visit
Friday 22 June
The committee members will split into three fact-finding visits to:
- Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland (CHSS): Some members will meet with patients, and support staff to discuss their experiences.
- Deep End Project and P3 group: Some members will meet with Professor Watt, Dr Susan Langridge and Dr Jim O'Neil of the Deep End project, to discuss the challenges facing GPs working to tackle heart disease in the most deprived communities in Scotland. This group will also consider questionnaire responses from the Patient Partnership in Practice (P3) group from the Royal College of General Practitioners in Scotland.
- Keep Well programme and South Asian Anticipatory Care pilot: Some members will meet with those practice staff and a patient participating in the Scottish Government’s Keep Well programme. The group will also meet with those involved in the South Asian Anticipatory Care pilot.
The formal afternoon meeting in Glasgow City Chamber, which starts at 1.45 pm will include evidence from:
- Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland and the British Heart Foundation
- NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, NHS Lothian
- Scottish Government Officials and Dr Barry Vallance (Consultant Cardiologist/Lead Clinician for Heart Disease Scotland)
A limited number of public gallery seats will be available for the City Chambers meeting (25 seats approximately). Ticket reservations will be available one week in advance - contact the Scottish Parliament’s visitor services on 0131 348 5200. Any members of the media wishing to attend should contact the Parliament’s Media Relations Office on 0131 348 5389.
Outreach Services staff from the Scottish Parliament will also be involved in the Glasgow visit with talks and presentations for community groups and patient support groups with an interest in cardiology services – for details contact Paul Anderson on 0131 348 5357
Background figures on cardiology services
According to Audit Scotland’s report, Cardiology Services, published in February 2012:
- Coronary heart disease is the second biggest killer in Scotland after cancer.
- Cardiology has the third highest spending of all medical specialities – up to £146 million in 2010/2011.
- This figure represents a 50 per cent increase in spending over the past eight years.