HC Deb 05 February 1991 vol 185 cc86-7W
Mr. Simon Coombs

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what new initiatives he is taking to reduce the incidence of coronary heart disease in Scotland.

Mr. Michael Forsyth

The consultation document "Health Education in Scotland: A National Policy Statement", which I launched on 9 October 1990, identified coronary heart disease as a national priority for health education and set out our target of reducing mortality from heart disease for people under age 65 by 25 per cent. by the year 2000.

A twin strategy involving both an individual and population approach is proposed. The individual strategy envisages family doctors identifying people who are at risk, thus enabling appropriate counselling or necessary treatment to be provided. The population strategy consists of promoting, at national and local levels, the positive lifestyle approach and in particular the aspects of healthy eating, non-smoking and exercise. National programmes will be undertaken by the Health Education Board for Scotland, which will replace the Scottish Health Education Group on 1 April, and will be complemented by action at local level by health boards and voluntary organisations. I am making additional funds available to the new board to enable programmes on priority topics such as coronary heart disease to be vigorously pursued.

As an interim measure, I have also asked the Scottish Health Education Group to develop a coronary heart disease programme which will reinforce awareness of the main behaviours associated with the disease and the often simple steps which individuals can take to reduce the risk. I hope to launch the new programme shortly.

Premature deaths from coronary heart disease in Scotland declined by 17 per cent. between 1980 and 1988, but much remains to be done. The enhanced health education effort now in train will facilitate further progress towards the target that I have set.

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