The Wythenshawe Cardiology Department Research Fund was set up in 1989. Our original trustees were Drs Bray, Bennett, Brookes and Ward. This charity funded research into the cardiovascular system to improve diagnosis and enhance the lives of people living with heart disease. Originally limited to supporting those connected with Wythenshawe Cardiology department, a few years ago the then Trustees saw an opportunity to widen the scope and reach of the charity.
In 2021, the charity was renamed NW Hearts Charity and the area of benefit was widened to (1) encompass all of Greater Manchester and (2) improve heart health in a wide range of ways, not only by doing valuable research. We want to improve outcomes for people with heart disease across the region.
We think everyone should be able to access the latest treatments (and therefore benefit from the best heart health), regardless of their postcode or their background. Advised by experts, we fund projects that support patients, their families, researchers, specialist staff and communities. Together, we'll reduce the impact of heart disease on lives, over and above what the NHS already provides.
Why we exist
There are around 7.6 million people living with heart disease in the UK.
Heart and Circulatory diseases account for 1 in 4 deaths in the UK. This figure is even higher in Greater Manchester.
The health of the people in Greater Manchester has been worse than the England average for many years, with a higher number of risk factors for heart disease.
Too many people die earlier than they should. A male baby born in 2017-19 in areas of Greater Manchester can expect to live 9 years less than for a male baby born in Westminster. Female babies can expect to live 7 years less (Office of National Statistics Data).
Although we expect societies to live longer year-on-year, life expectancy in many areas of GM has barely shifted since 2010. This compares to increases in life expectancy of 4 years for a Westminster male baby and 2.6 years for a Westminster female baby over the same time period (Office of National Statistics Data)
Early identification of those with existing conditions and higher risk factors can mean that prevention strategies and early interventions can reduce the impact and risk of early death.
Although there are many examples of world-beating care and clinicians in Greater Manchester, there is still significant variation in care. Not everyone gets the heart treatment they should receive, when they really need it. Great care should be promoted and celebrated whilst inequities in care must change.