More than half of GPs think that cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention guidance should be included in the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF), according to a new survey.
Fifty-seven percent of GPs thought that including the Joint British Societies' (JBS2) guidance on the prevention of CVD in the QOF was the best way to ensure that comprehensive cardiovascular risk assessment was adopted in their particular practice.
Nine out of ten GPs say that the JBS2 guidance on the prevention of CBD is important in good clinical practice.
However, despite this, the survey – commissioned by H·E·A·R·T UK, the National Obesity Forum (NOF), the Primary Care Cardiovascular Society (PCCS) and the Primary Care Diabetes Society (PCDS) – revealed that only one in ten GPs implement the guidance, which recommends patients aged 40 and over are routinely assessed for a range of cardiovascular risk factors.
The survey shows that in current clinical practice formal assessment of a person's risk of developing heart disease and stroke is dependent on whether a person proactively asks their GP for a risk assessment.
It also demonstrates that the GPs do not often measure multiple risk factors to calculate a patients overall risk, and that important measurements such as waist circumference and blood sugars are not routinely taken by the majority of GPs.
Cathy Ratcliffe, from H·E·A·R·T UK, The Cholesterol Charity, said: "We have seen from the government's own Foresight Report on obesity that levels of CVD and diabetes are set to explode over the next 30 years."
"Much of this could be prevented by a more integrated approach to heart health assessment and management. The QOF's role in supporting this will be key in ensuring that it is implemented effectively across the country."
Dr David Haslam, Medical Director of the NOF, said: "CVD is the leading cause of preventable death in the UK. Many of these deaths could be easily avoided through a more systematic approach to identifying cardiovascular risk in the population.
"QOF must ensure that GPs are incentivised to look at the full range of cardiovascular risk factors."
Heart and circulatory diseases are the UK's biggest killer. In 2004, CVD caused 37% of deaths in the UK, and killed just over 216,000 people.