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Heart death 'north-south divide' revealed

09 June 2015 08:25

Scotland and the North of England have the most deaths from heart disease

Scotland and the North of England have the most deaths from heart disease

A leading heart expert has expressed concern over the North-South divide in the number of people dying from cardiovascular disease.

Dr Adam Timmis, of the National Institute for Health Research Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit at Barts Health NHS Trust, says the differences are a "stain" on the UK's public health record.

Out of the four UK nations, England has the lowest rate of cardiovascular conditions, which include heart disease and stroke.

Scotland has the biggest proportion of cases, followed by the North of England.

When analysed further, Glasgow has the highest death rate from cardiovascular disease, followed by Hyndburn in Lancashire. At the other end of the spectrum, the Isles of Scilly have the fewest deaths.

Wherever heart patients are from in the UK, if they are travelling abroad they can arrange specialist medical travel insurance to cover the cost of any treatment needed while overseas.

Cancer 'biggest killer of men'

Dr Timmis made his comments as a report was published showing that cancer has overtaken cardiovascular disease as the biggest killer of men in the UK for the first time since the mid 20th Century.

Some 32% now die from cancer, while 29% die from cardiovascular disease.

The research, led by the University of Oxford, shows that cardiovascular disease is still the most common cause of death among women, accounting for 28% of deaths compared with 27% from cancer.

The analysis, published online in the journal Heart, also reveals cardiovascular disease was the cause of nearly 42,000 premature deaths in 2012.

Cost of treating heart disease

In an accompanying editorial, Dr Timmis points out that local authorities with the highest death rates for cardiovascular disease are nearly all in the North of England and Scotland.

He says "UK socio-economic gradients" in incidences of disease and mortality are as steep now as they have ever been and warns that, unless they are resolved, the regional differences highlighted in the report are likely to persist.

The NHS in England spent around £6.8 billion on cardiovascular disease in 2012/13, the report says.

In Wales it was £442 million, £393 million in Northern Ireland, and more than £750 million in Scotland.