This week Tim Loughton showed his support for UK medical research by joining 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, Tim 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.
There are an estimated 14,020 people in East Worthing and Shoreham living with heart and circulatory disease, including 4,500 with coronary heart disease and over 1,000 have heart failure. It causes a quarter of all deaths in the UK.
Commenting, Tim said: “Heart disease is a devastating condition that affects thousands of people across Adur and Worthing.
“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.”
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 lifesaving 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: “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.”