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Screening programme thrown into doubt

The NICE guidance has thrown into doubt the future of cardiovascular screening – although the Government has denied reports it has abandoned proposals for a full screening programme.

The Department of Health insists no decision has been taken on whether to introduce a programme at 40, 50 and 60, and it is writing to media outlets that reported a U-turn last week.

Bill Kirkup, chair of the department's vascular programme board, said: 'We're looking at a range of options for vascular risk assessment and benefits and costs, but no decision has yet been taken.

'But NICE has made it equally clear that its own provisional proposals do not support full screening from 40.

Dr Gillian Leng, the institute's implementation systems director and executive lead for the guideline, said: 'The draft is not advocating a programme of national, population-based screening.

'What it does recommend is that a systematic strategy should be used at primary care level to identify individuals at high risk of developing CVD.'

Recommendations from the National Screening Committee are currently being considered by the department, along with the draft NICE lipid modification guidance and other schemes such as 'life checks'.

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