We published our heart disease action plan on 23 March—yesterday—and confirmed an initial investment of £2.2 million to drive forward the actions that are in the plan. That represents a doubling of investment from the previous heart disease improvement plan. Delivery of the actions that the new plan contains will enable us to minimise preventable heart disease and to ensure that everyone with suspected heart disease has timely and equitable access to diagnosis, treatment and care that supports them in living well with their condition.
Given that 700,000 people in Scotland live with heart disease, the action plan’s publication is welcome. Adequate funding is vital to meet the needs of people across Scotland for the best treatment and care.
I welcome the increased funding that the minister referred to, but funding for the plan’s previous iteration was only £1 million, in comparison with £117 million for cancer and £42 million for type 2 diabetes. What is the minister’s response to campaigners and patients who do not yet feel convinced that heart disease is a strong enough priority for the Government?
I assure everyone that tackling heart disease is a strong priority for the Government. What we have proposed is the initial investment, which represents a doubling of resource from the previous plan, as I just said.
The delivery of the key actions that are in the plan, such as the effective use of data that we outline under priority 4, will ensure that resource is allocated appropriately in the future to drive forward improved patient outcomes. I hope that that assures Monica Lennon.
In 2019, I raised the fact that the British Heart Foundation had revealed evidence that, although heart disease kills three times as many women as breast cancer does, the prognosis for female patients remains much poorer than that for men. What steps have been taken in the past two years to involve medical professionals in improving that unacceptable situation?
We absolutely recognise the significant impact of heart disease on women. That is why we made a commitment in our programme for government to developing and implementing a women’s health plan, which will include cardiac disease as a key pillar.
The plan will aim to reduce women’s health inequalities by raising awareness of women’s health and improving women’s access to healthcare throughout their lives. Implementation of the actions that are in that plan will align with implementation of the heart disease action plan, which highlights the importance of tackling inequities in access to diagnosis, treatment and care for people with heart disease.