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Heart disease costing the UK

15th May 2006

Heart disease costs the UK economy over £29 billion a year in healthcare expenditure and lost productivity, a new study claims.

Britain also spends more as a proportion of its health spending on treating cardiovascular disease (CVD) than other European countries, researchers from Oxford University found.

Treating the disease costs some £17.4 billion a year and represents 18 per cent of total healthcare expenditure in the UK, a report from the university’s Health Economics Research Centre concludes.

Based on all UK residents diagnosed with cardiovascular disease in 2004, the study estimates that the NHS spent almost £16 billion treating the disease that year, with private sector healthcare providers spending almost £1.5 billion.

While healthcare represented 60 per cent of the cost of treating cardiovascular disease to the UK economy, lost productivity amounted to around 23 per cent.

The study found that over 69 million work days were lost to the disease in 2004, at a cost to the UK economy of almost £3 billion.

Once informal care by family members was included, the total cost to the UK amounted to over £29 billion, researchers found.

British Heart Foundation medical director Peter Weissberg said the cost of cardiovascular disease to the economy was not surprising given that around 40 per cent of all UK deaths were attributed to the condition.