This week Anna Turley, Labour and Co-operative MP for Redcar, showed her 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.
In Redcar constituency there are more than 12,000 people living with heart and circulatory disease, and seven million people across the UK. It causes a quarter of all deaths in the UK.
At an event in Westminster, Anna 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.
“It was a really interesting event, particularly hearing from heart patients about their experiences living with the condition. Heart disease is a devastating condition that affects thousands of people across Redcar – finding new treatments is vital to improve their quality of life.
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. However, in addition to charity funding, they rely on Government support towards some of the indirect costs of research, such as heating and electricity in laboratories.
“If we are to continue making great strides in heart research it is important the public and the Government support our brightest scientists.”
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.
Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director at the BHF, said:
“Any cut to science funding would be extremely damaging to our life saving research and the fight against heart disease.
“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.
“The Government urgently needs to secure the future of medical research by maintaining the current ring-fence and committing to future increases.”
Find out more about the vital work carried out by our researchers at https://www.bhf.org.uk/research