'Hospital deaths from cardiovascular diseases too high'

6 February 2013
A new report from the National End of Life Care Intelligence Network highlights that people with cardiovascular diseases are more likely to die in hospital than people dying from other conditions.

The report, ‘Deaths from cardiovascular diseases: Implications for end of life care in England’, also found that less than one per cent of all cardiovascular disease deaths occur in a hospice.

While the report acknowledges that some of these deaths will be sudden and unexpected, more should be done to ensure that people with cardiovascular diseases can access the end of life care services they need.

Cardiovascular diseases, which include diseases of the heart and circulation such as coronary heart disease and stroke, are the most common cause of death in England. In 2011, 30% of all deaths were as a result of cardiovascular diseases. 

Commenting on the report, Simon Chapman, Director of Policy and Parliamentary Affairs at the National Council for Palliative Care, the lead charity of Dying Matters, said: "It's really encouraging that the number of deaths from cardiovascular diseases has fallen significantly due to improved awareness, diagnosis and treatment. However, there now needs to be a sustained focus on improving the end of life care for the many people who are still dying as a result of these conditions. 

"As more people live for longer, often with a number of complex conditions including coronary heart disease or stroke, there is a growing need to ensure that people are able to get the end of life care they need, in the place they want to be in, which for most people is in their own home. We only have one chance to get care right for people who are dying, which is why local commissioners and service providers in every area need to make end of life care one of their core priorities." 

Dr James Beattie, Consultant Cardiologist at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and a Trustee of the National Council for Palliative Care, added: “The reduction in deaths from acute cardiac conditions reported in the National End of Life Intelligence Network document is testament to the effectiveness of the development and implementation of the National Service Framework for Coronary Artery Disease over the past decade. The trade off lies in the burgeoning population now living with and ultimately dying from chronic progressive cardiac conditions such as heart failure. These individuals are no less worthy of our attention and we must take responsibility for their continuing care.  

"This publication provides useful data for commissioners tasked with the planning and provision of the comprehensive care they require along the entire disease trajectory to the end of their lives.”


Download the report: 'Deaths from cardiovascular diseases: Implications for end of life care in England'  - external link.


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