Azara Blog: The NHS is allegedly not doing enough screening of heart conditions

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Date published: 2007/10/14

The BBC says:

Thousands of young people with potentially fatal heart conditions are not being given screening tests which could save many lives.

Every day in Britain, one person aged under 35 dies from the range of conditions known as sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS).

NHS guidelines recommend screening for families with genetic heart problems.

But an investigation for BBC Radio's 5live Report reveals failures in NHS procedures mean many are not tested.

Under current guidelines, screening on the NHS should be offered to anyone reporting symptoms of heart problems, as well as the families of people who have already died from an unexplained heart condition.

But cardiologists report people with symptoms are not being referred and in many cases coroners are failing to correctly diagnose SADS as the cause of death.

There are around 400 deaths a year from SADS which campaigners say could be prevented if simple electrocardiogram tests were used more widely.

A typically weasly article from the BBC. Take the favourite disease of some special interest pressure group. Then notice that the NHS does not treat the disease with perfection (surprise). Then claim the world is at an end. Here we also have the extra weasly words that "many are not tested" and allegedly that 400 deaths "could" be prevented. There is no context given. How many is "many"? Are 400 deaths significant in this context? How much is this all going to cost (something the BBC never worries about)? Is it value for money? Perhaps yes, but since the BBC just publishes what amounts to a press release for some special interest pressure group (in this case, it seems, just some BBC programme, although perhaps there is a real special interest pressure group in the background), the reader is left none the wiser. And finally, the BBC commits perhaps the worst sin of all. Later in the article they mention one young person who died from a heart condition, complete with the requisite distraught mother. The problem is that it's only one example. One example (usually) proves nothing, but the BBC, like most of the media, figure that if they can put some emotive example into a story then it makes the story more plausible. It does not. (The one example would prove something if the NHS claimed it never got anything wrong ever.)

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