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Council tax as risk-score aid

Council tax bands could be used to correct the much-

maligned Framingham risk charts for levels of deprivation.

NICE is to consider new research finding that a patient's banding can simply and accurately predict risk of coronary heart disease. The correlation between council tax bands and CHD incidence was 0.89, considerably stronger than the 0.71 with the Scottish index of multiple deprivation.

Study researcher Dr Iain Findlay, consultant in general medicine at Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley, who presented the data at the British Cardiac Society conference in Glasgow, said: 'We have to correct for deprivation. This seems a simple way of doing it. You do need to target this because we are seeing a lot of affluent people at low risk taking pills.'

NICE and SIGN are examining ways of improving Framingham or replacing it with alternative risk scores.

Dr Paramjit Gill, a member of the NICE lipid modification guideline development group and a GP in Birmingham, said: 'Certainly if it is valid it would have practical implications.

'It follows we should be looking at it. It has to go through peer review and then NICE will have to consider it.'

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