All heart at the Vicky

Alex Neil meets patients Eva Downs and David McCormack.
Alex Neil meets patients Eva Downs and David McCormack.

THERE has been a decrease in deaths from heart disease and stroke, new figures suggest.

Scottish government health secretary Alex Neil welcomed the news as he paid a visit to the new Victoria Infirmary to see a cardiac rehabilitation class in action.

Mr Neil greeted patients who have benefited from attending the classes in the southside of Glasgow’s hospital.

Mr Neil said: “It is fantastic that NHS Scotland is continuing to make significant reductions in the number of deaths from heart disease and stroke.

“In addition to the substantial reduction we’ve seen over the past decade, between 2010 and 2011 alone, we’ve seen an 8.1 per cent drop in the number of deaths from coronary disease and a 5.7% drop in the number of deaths from stroke.

“We’ve also managed to narrow the gap between the richest and poorest areas of Scotland, showing that our strategy for tackling heart disease and stroke is delivering real results for the people of Scotland.

“There is however more to do.

“For example, more people are surviving heart attacks and living with heart disease – they need high access to high quality rehabilitation and support.

“NHS Scotland has substantially increased access to cardiac rehabilitation in recent years, and we recognise the need to continue to improve services available for people with all heart conditions.”

Cardiac rehabilitation statistics published back in May show that access to cardiac rehabilitation for heart attack patients increased from 53% in 2006 to 71% in 2010.

Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland’s chief executive David Clark said: “CHSS very much welcomes the continuing fall in deaths from heart disease and stroke in Scotland – two of our ‘big three’ killers.

“This has been achieved both by improved prevention and treatment, and by people adopting healthier lifestyles.

“However it also means that more and more people are living with these illnesses as long-term conditions – nearly 250,000 Scots are living with heart disease and 100,000 with stroke.

“They and their families need ongoing advice, support and services in the community, which CHSS helps to provide throughout Scotland.

“We also work with the Scottish government and other charities to explore new and innovative ways of delivering like cardiac and stroke rehabilitation, to break down barriers to access and enable more people to live longer, healthier lives.”