Plans announced to tackle heart condition

Health and social care secretary Steve Barclay has announced plans to tackle aortic dissection - which currently kills 2,000 people a year.

Barclay announced the formation of an NHS working group that will bring together clinical experts and charities, to improve diagnosis and treatment of the condition. The group is set to review the whole patient experience when it comes to aortic dissections, and pinpoint opportunities for future improvement, including the potential benefits of genetic testing.

The group will also continue to monitor and support the implementation of the acute Aortic Dissection toolkit which has already been produced by NHS England and is currently being rolled out to NHS providers and review the whole aortic dissection patient pathway and identify areas for improvement including the elective pathway.

They will also explore the evidence and options for genetic screening including potential cohorts for screening and scope the clinical skills and workforce requirements to support aortic dissection pathway improvement.

Barclay said: "Aortic dissection can be a devastating condition and every year it takes the lives of more people than die on our roads, yet awareness is low. Changing that will save lives.

"Developing a holistic approach, from identifying those potentially at risk to providing first class follow-up care, will be life-changing for patients and I’m delighted to be able to build on the good work we’re already doing in this area.

"I also want to pay tribute to the tireless work of my colleague Pauline Latham whose campaigning to improve aortic dissection care has kept this issue on the agenda."