I recognise the difficulties facing the Urgent and Emergency Care system, including ambulance response times for heart attacks. I know that tackling the backlog of treatment, including for cardiac care, is a key priority for the Government.
For 2022/23, NHS England allocated an additional £150 million to support ambulance services to reduce response times through additional call handler recruitment, retention and other measures. In addition, £2.3 billion will be invested to establish Community Diagnostic Centres which will help to improve access to heart scans and reduce waiting lists for cardiac services. However, I fully acknowledge there is much more to be done to improve performance and reduce waiting times further.
Prevention and early detection of cardiovascular disease is vital and the NHS Health Check programme continues to facilitate this. The Department of Health and Social Care is also working with NHS England to improve the detection, monitoring and treatment of atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Looking ahead, the Government recognises that tackling major conditions that cause ill-health - including heart conditions - provides an opportunity to improve the lives of millions of people. That is why a Major Conditions Strategy will be developed and published over the next year to outline how outcomes in six major condition areas will be improved, including cardiovascular diseases. A call for evidence, which sought views on priority areas for preventing and treating cardiovascular disease, has recently concluded and the strategy will be published in due course.