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New deadline for GPs to set up heart risk registers

The Government has given GPs until March 2006 to set up practice-based registers of patients at high risk of heart disease under the national service framework.

The registers must include patients with a cardiac event risk greater than 30 per cent over 10 years, those with hypertension, diabetes or a BMI greater than 30.

The registers must also include systematic treatment regimes covering appropriate advice on diet, physical activity and smoking.

New locally developed targets on reducing the number of patients admitted to hospital with a diagnosis of heart failure will be introduced after the National Institute for Clinical Excellence publishes guidance on heart failure, due this summer.

The new targets come following a Government report into the first three years of the heart disease NSF. No ring-fenced money has been set aside for the new targets but hypertension accounts for 105 points out of the 1,000 in the quality framework of the new contract, so GPs can bid for money to set up registers.

Heart tsar Dr Roger Boyle said: 'There are still substantial challenges ahead, especially in those areas of the NSF that were not early priorities.'

The report said 1.1 million people now receive statin therapy. Since the NSF was introduced three years ago, statin prescribing has risen by 30 per cent a year. It will cost the NHS almost £600 million this year ­ up from £240 million in 1999/2000.

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