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Scots GPs pilot cardiovascular screening programme

The first stage of an ambitious new programme for GP cardiovascular screening has been launched in Scotland.

Practices will deliver half-hour health checks and regular monitoring to high-risk patients as part of a pilot in north Lanarkshire – the first of five planned by the Scottish Executive.

The results of the pilot are also likely to influence the implementation of UK-wide screening for cardiovascular disease, with the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, Dr Harry Burns, also chair of the UK national screening committee.

The Keep Well pilot is using questionnaires to assess 40,000 patients aged 45-64 at 34 practices for cardiovascular risk, with full assessments for those classed at high risk.

GPs involved in the scheme are paid based on the predicted number of patients who will need medical or lifestyle interventions.

John Howie, health improvement programme manager for Keep Well at NHS Health Scotland, said the objective was to reduce health inequalities.

Mr Howie said the scheme 'will begin to shape any national rollout, but what it will look like will depend on the outcome', and on a Health Scotland-commissioned national evaluation.

Dr Richard Williams, a GP in Leith, Edinburgh, said: 'These pilots are probably a good idea because they are targeting people at risk. The concern is with schemes that target people at low risk.'

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