MORE than 10,000 people in Ashton-under-Lyne are living with heart disease.
That's why local MP Angela Rayner is calling for more research to help save lives and improve the quality of life for thousands of people in her constituency.
Angela joined British Heart Foundation (BHF) scientists and heart patients to hear how research is helping to save and improve the lives of the millions of people affected by heart disease.
At an event in Westminster, Angela spoke with heart patients and BHF-funded researchers to learn more about the latest research projects, the hope they offer to people with heart conditions and why government support is vital.
Angela said: “Heart disease is a devastating condition that affects thousands of people in Ashton, Droylsden and Failsworth.
"It affects everyone, from babies born with life-threatening heart problems to the many Mums, Dads and Grandparents who survive a heart attack and endure the daily battles of heart failure.
“But with the public’s support, charities like the BHF are able to fund some of the world’s leading researchers, who work tirelessly to find the next major breakthrough that could help save more lives.
“If we are to continue making great strides in heart research both the public, including people in my constituency and the Government, need to support our brightest scientists.”
There are an estimated 10,800 living with heart and circulatory disease and seven million people across the UK. It causes a quarter of all deaths in the UK.
The BHF is the largest independent funder of cardiovascular research and spends around £100 million every year on world class research to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. The charity sector is by far the largest funder of life sciences research in our universities and every year the Government contributes £198 million towards the indirect costs, such as heating and electricity in laboratories, of charity-funded research. But this figure falls short of covering all the costs of undertaking life saving research.
The government’s science budget is currently protected from cuts to expenditure but only until April 2016. Any cut to science spending would put future and current research projects that could help save more lives at serious risk.
The BHF is calling on the Government to maintain the current ring-fencing of the science budget and to commit to future increases.
Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director at the BHF, said: “Any cut to science funding would be extremely damaging to our life saving research and the fight against heart disease.
“Through our research we’ve helped make great progress over the last 50 years to reduce the number of deaths from heart disease by more than 50 per cent and improve the lives of people living with it.
“This year alone our researchers have developed a highly sensitive blood test that could double the detection rate of heart attacks in women. And recently our researchers have improved our understanding of how we may be able to regenerate the heart after a heart attack bringing hope that one day there will be a treatment for severe heart failure.
“Much more research is needed if we are to continue helping the millions of families across the UK deeply affected by heart disease, and this can’t be done without strong Government support.
“The Government urgently needs to secure the future of medical research by maintaining the current ring-fence and committing to future increases.”
Find out more about the vital work carried out by BHF researchers at https://www.bhf.org.uk/research