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RCGP wants formal CVD screen from 40

The RCGP has condemned NICE draft guidance on lipid modification as not 'aggressive enough' and demanded formal population screening for cardiovascular disease.

The institute provisionally recommended only that GPs should systematically monitor over-40s for cardiovascular risk and denied its advice amounted to screening. But the college's chair, Professor Mayur Lakhani, said he would be lobbying for the Department of Health to press ahead with full screening of over-40s amid reports – strongly denied by the department – that it is scaling down its plans.

The college's combative stance came despite new research, presented at the Heart UK annual conference this month, suggesting as many as 74% of men over 50 would be eligible for statins under screening.

Professor Lakhani said: 'We are not being aggressive enough in this country about prevention. To address this, you need to start a screening programme from the age of 40, particularly in men.' Professor Lakhani said screening would impact on the primary care workload but could be implemented by healthcare assistants and nurses.

But Dr Stewart Findlay, treasurer of the Primary Care Cardiovascular Society and a GP in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, said patients at most risk of developing CVD would already be identified through risk factors recorded in GP notes, such as obesity.

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