Urgent NHS funding for more specialist staff and resources to screen children and young people for an inherited heart condition has been called for by the Royal College of Physicians.
It reports that familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH), which causes high levels of LDL cholesterol in later life, is putting thousands of people unwittingly at risk.
The report recommends more screening resources for trusts, including specialist doctors and nurses and a system of ‘cascade’ family testing.
It also says that clearly-defined care pathways are needed, including better facilities for examining children and young people in ‘appropriate’ settings.
Said Professor Steve Humphries, director of the Centre for Cardiovascular Genetics, British Heart Foundation Laboratories: ‘Sorting this out is a key priority.
‘The NICE guidelines have laid out the best way to identify and treat people with FH, and we know that this will save lives and is very cost effective.
‘The problem at the moment is that most trusts have not yet been able to find funding for the DNA testing or the nursing and support staff to carry out the cascade family testing.’
An estimated 120,000 people in England have the condition - as many as have type 1 diabetes - of which 85% are undiagnosed.