Following the UK general election on December 12, CRY has experienced an expected drop in the number of MPs on its pledge to establish a national strategy for the prevention of young sudden cardiac death (YSCD). After reaching a total of 187 MP signatures on our pledge in 2019, we are now down to 142.
This may be disheartening, given the amazing efforts of everyone who supports CRY to raise awareness and help garner the support of those MPs. But it presents a new opportunity to get involved in local communities. A chance to increase activity, especially where newly elected MPs will look to establish a firm, engaged footing in their constituency. With the Conservatives securing many new seats around the UK, there has been plenty of change.
Landing the support of MPs is essential to CRY’s work. As CRY Chief Executive Dr Steven Cox explained in his speech at our 2018 Parliamentary Reception, changes to policy are needed to ensure that screening is fully utilised to prevent as many tragedies as possible.
“Most of these deaths will occur at rest, during sleep, usually with no symptoms,” Dr Cox said. “And that is when screening comes in. That is why screening is so important. We need an overriding strategy… so we can break the contradictions that we see in different policies that we have in the UK.
“An ECG is a powerful tool if you look at the NICE guidelines. If you go to the NHS choices website, it talks about an ECG for conditions like Wolff-Parkinson-White, long QT, cardiomyopathies, Brugada syndrome. The ECG is the core tool there to identify them, yet the National Screening Committee (NSC) do not support these position statements.”
The NSC yet again failed to recommend population screening for sudden cardiac death in the young in their latest consultation document, published this June. CRY issued a detailed response to challenge some of the issues within the document, and will continue to urge the NSC to give recommendations that reflect the strongest, most up to date evidence that prove the value of cardiac screening.
For CRY’s 2019 Raising Awareness Week at the end of November, we ran a poster campaign which received fantastic involvement from supporters all around the UK. We have currently sent out over 360 poster packs, which feature CRY’s key information and statistics. Along with other means of raising awareness, from the tireless efforts of families in their local communities to CRY’s growing reach on social media, word of CRY and the incidence of YSCD continues to spread. We have also screened more than 30,000 young people in a year for the first time ever in 2019.
As always, making a difference in policy is the next, tough step. This is why rallying the support of MPs is so important.
If you would like some information on how to contact your local MP and get them involved, click here.