To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department plans to take to support increases in auscultation using a stethoscope in primary and community care settings to detect heart murmurs characteristic of heart valve disease.
21 September 2022
NHS England has assessed that the use of clinical auscultation using a stethoscope is not a sensitive way of identifying the presence and clinical significance of heart valve disease or the detection of heart murmurs.
To support the early detection and diagnosis of heart valve disease NHS England has committed to launch at least 100 community diagnostic centres (CDCs) by 2024/25. These CDCs will provide services to detect heart murmurs, which are characteristic of heart valve and cardiovascular disease, through physiological measurement tests such as echocardiography and electrocardiograms, pathology tests, computerised tomography and magnetic resonance imaging scans.
In addition, the National Health Service is investing in cardiac networks to support whole pathway improvements. These networks have been developed to take an evidenced based, clinically led, whole pathway approach to improvement from prevention, diagnosis, treatment and end-of-life care.