Mrs Hart said that a group of clinicians will review current provision of vascular risk management and assessment in Wales and recommend a future model to reduce the number of people developing the disease.
A future programme could involve risk assessments for those in danger of the disease, such as measurement of high blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar levels – all significant factors in the condition.
The move follows the recommendation from the UK National Screening Committee that the four UK health departments introduce vascular risk management programmes.
Every year in the UK around 150,000 people die from the disease, with many of the population in Wales particularly at risk because of lifestyle factors such as high smoking rates and low levels of exercise. In 2006, 11,300 people in Wales died from the disease.
The group will be chaired by Professor Julian Halcox, professor of clinical cardiology at the University Hospital of Wales.
Edwina Hart said:
Vascular disease is one of the biggest killers in Wales.
The group will engage with stakeholders to recommend a model to improve the preventative measures around the disease.
I am delighted that Professor Halcox, as one of the foremost experts in the condition in Wales, has agreed to chair the project group.
The group is due to report by June 2009.
29 December 2008