Rhun ap Iorwerth, Assembly Member for Ynys Môn, attended a Heart Valve Voice Assembly testing event today that also marked the launch of a new report by the charity. Members were also tested for a heart murmur with a stethoscope, which in adults can indicate a problem with a heart valve.
Heart Valve Voice’s report, State of the Nation: Heart Valve Disease in Wales, brings together a wealth of evidence on the current provision for heart valve disease patients in Wales. It highlights the significant under-diagnosis and under-treatment of the condition when compared to the UK as a whole, and warns that the number of people with heart valve disease in Wales is estimated to rise by 37% in the next 40 years.
The report also outlines a series of recommendations to ensure patients are treated in line with best practice. In particular the report calls for:
• A reduction in waiting time for echocardiography to 6 weeks, in line with recommended standards and English targets
• The omission of heart valve disease in the Heart Disease Delivery Plan to be recognised and explained, and for future cardiac strategies to review the needs of heart valve disease patients
• Variation in access to best practice treatment to be addressed, particularly with respect to patients in North Wales
Assembly Members were joined at the event by patients and clinicians, who shared their experiences of heart valve disease care.
Commenting on the event, Rhun ap Iorwerth AM said:
“I was delighted to attend the Heart Valve Voice testing event in the Senedd today. Speaking to patients and clinicians further reinforced my understanding of how crucial optimal care is, and how it can both significantly improve a patient’s quality of life and ensure both short and long term savings for the NHS.
“Given Wales’ ageing population it is vital that more people are aware of the symptoms of heart valve disease and have access to appropriate treatments. I welcome Heart Valve Voice’s new report: ‘State of the Nation’, as an important step forward for improving diagnosis and care.”
Heart Valve Voice Chief Executive Wil Woan added:
“Heart Valve Disease is a growing concern in Wales and we hope that this report highlights the need for policy makers to prioritise the condition within wider cardiac care.”
“We were delighted to have Rhun ap Iorwerth attend our testing session in the Welsh Assembly today. We look forward to working together to see the recommendations in the report implemented to improve the diagnosis, treatment and care of heart valve disease patients across Wales.”