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From Sickness Service To Health Service

Armen Hareyan's picture

Leading clinical experts have set out the progress made for patients in key areas of NHS service over the past decade.

In 1997, the UK was widely regarded as the coronary heart disease capital of the world, with high mortality rates, poor access to care and services stagnating. Since then, thanks to record investment and improvement in services the NHS has saved more than 100,000 extra lives from heart disease. Now, nobody is waiting more than three months for heart surgery, compared to hundreds of patients waiting over a year, and some waiting over two years ten years ago.

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The report 'Coronary Heart Disease Ten Years On: Improving Heart Health' by Roger Boyle, National Clinical Director for Heart Disease and Stroke, also shows that nearly 10,000 lives are being saved each year through the increased use of statins, and that premature deaths from circulatory disease (CHD, stroke and related diseases) in people under 75 have now fallen by almost 36% in the past decade, meaning the NHS is expected to meet the target of a 40% reduction by 2010, at least two years early.

In 'Emergency Care Ten Years On: Reforming Emergency Care', National Director for Emergency Access, Professor Sir George Alberti, has highlighted the transformation of A&E services, with record investment and innovative new ways of working resulting in an end to the long delays patients used to experience. Now the focus is on encouraging health communities to deliver appropriate and timely emergency care, wherever and whenever patients need it.

Professor Mike Richards, National Cancer Director, describes cancer services in 1997 that were not meeting the needs of patients, with survival rates lagging behind other Western European countries and unacceptably long waits for diagnosis and treatment. 'Cancer Ten Years On: Improvements across the whole care pathway' shows how investment and reform has meant improvements in screening, diagnostics, treatment and care. By delivering better treatment to more people than ever before, 50,000 extra lives have been saved in the past decade, meaning we are on target to meet our target of a reduction of at least 20% in cancer deaths by 2010.

Professor Louis Appleby, National Clinical Lead for Mental Health, maps the 10-year programme of reform of mental health care in 'Ten Years On: Progress on Mental Health Care Reform'. Increased annual investment of over