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International Nurses' Day - Taking Action on Cardiovascular Disease (CVD): The Contribution of Health and Care Professionals by Jamie Waterall

‘We have a crisis of preventable illness that threatens to break the NHS. We have a responsibility to get better at prevention. If the NHS Health Check is picking these conditions up, then that can only be a good thing.’ Matt Kearney, national clinical director for cardiovascular disease prevention, NHS England

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is both a health and an inequalities issue. As the largest cause of preventable ill health and death in England, CVD is something we cannot ignore and an area where health and care professional can make a significant difference. There are many ways a health and care professional can help reduce CVD rates, from educating people on a healthy heart and healthy brain, to spotting the early warning signs, such as high blood pressure through a NHS Health Check.

CVD is responsible for one in four premature deaths in the UK and was responsible for 26% of all deaths (129,147) in England in 2015[1]. While people living in our most deprived communities are almost twice as likely to die prematurely from CVD as those living in the most affluent.

This blog is to highlight how, through a place-based approach, we can make that difference. The townscape below shows just some of the wide range of facilities and services vital to the delivery of health and wellbeing in the community and how interventions can be made everywhere, by everyone to help reduce CVD.



The first three commitments in ‘Leading Change, Adding Value (LCAV),’ the national nurses, midwives, health visitors and care staff framework, all focus on health promoting and prevention and  we have recently published the 3Ps professional guidance to support practice and leadership. This may also be of interest to other health care professionals.

The guidance for CVD is shown below. I am asking that every one of us ‘acts now’ by looking at what works and including in our practice to maximise our contribution to reducing CVD for all.

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Find out more on what PHE has been doing to celebrate International Nurses’ Day on the PHE blog page

Jamie Waterall, National Lead for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention & Associate Deputy Chief Nurse


Reference: [1] Office for National Statistics mortality statistics. Cited in Nomis, 27 July 2017. Available from: and British Heart Foundation, Cardiovascular Disease Statistics 2015, [cited Sep 2017] available from:


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