News that government action to tackle the effects of heart disease in the UK population through better care and statin drugs has to be welcomed. Yet it also leads to questions about.why this strategy could not be adopted for other conditions which blight lives and cost the NHS (and the taxpayer) billions.
Take chronic wounds. These unpleasant conditions affect, like heart disease, our ageing population and are estimated to cost the NHS as much as£1bn a year in treatment. The vast majority of this spending, however, is channelled into managing rather than curing the problem - even though effective treatments exist.
The lack of a national strategy for this and many other conditions has resulted in a short-sighted system which prefers 'spending little and often' on care rather than on the treatments which could significantly improve patients' health and quality of life.
Innovative treatments such as Myskin, which uses skin-cell impregnated dressings to heal complex wounds, have the power to change lives, but require a system which compares the 'whole-life' expense of managing a wound for years on end to the 'one-off' cost of curing it altogether.
Surely now is the time to apply some of the joined-up thinking that seems to have worked so well in improving heart disease figures to other areas in the healthcare system. If a strategy improves thousands of people's lives, who could argue against it?
Brian Longley, Sheffield