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Cardiac services

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Providing a basis for planning and developing services for the prevention and treatment of cardiac disease.

Coronary heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United Kingdom and particularly in Wales.

The Welsh Government is committed to improving cardiac services in Wales as set out in the Coronary Heart Disease National Service Framework (NSF) (2001). The NSF’s main aim is to improve the speed of diagnosis, care and treatment for everyone across Wales requiring cardiac care.  

This has since been updated and superseded by the Cardiac Disease National Service Framework, published in July 2009. The framework includes a separate standard on arrhythmias, sudden cardiac death and care of adults with congenital heart disease.

Organisations are expected to have a local plan which demonstrates how they will develop and deliver effective cardiac services. The plan will also need to clearly demonstrate how the organisation expects to deliver the necessary improvements both within the timescale and available financial resources.

Progress to date

To help deliver the requirements of the NSF, three cardiac networks have been set up covering:

  • North Wales;
  • Mid and South West Wales; and
  • South East Wales.

These networks are made up of those organisations which are responsible for, or have a direct interest in providing cardiac services. Their focus is on the patient journey from GP referral to the receipt of appropriate treatment and the sharing of best practice across the three network areas.

The Welsh Government employ a clinical lead for cardiac services to provide them with advice and guidance on the strategic development of cardiac services. The Cardiac Networks Co-ordinating Group brings clinical and other NHS interests together at an all-Wales level to support and advise both the Welsh Government and the networks.

Significant progress has already been made with implementing the Cardiac Disease NSF across Wales.  Waiting times for diagnosis and treatment of cardiac disease have reduced significantly over the last few years. Other initiatives have seen the:

  • development of a patient-held record;
  • establishment of heart failure clinics and coronary care unit improvements;
  • expansion of services to undertake diagnostic procedures; and
  • siting of public access defibrillators in strategic sites across Wales.

Visit Cardiac Networks Co-ordinating Group (CNCG) (external link)