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Tue 19 Aug 2008 04:00 AM

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France ranked top in cardio care table

Luxembourg and France have topped a survey ranking European countries by the quality of their cardiovascular care.

Luxembourg and France have topped a survey ranking European countries by the quality of their cardiovascular care.

The best care for patients is found in Luxembourg while Britain comes ninth in Europe, three places above Germany, according to the league table.

Latvia, Bulgaria and Romania ranked last.

The list was drawn up by Swedish healthcare monitoring organisation Health Consumer Powerhouse. The agency rated national cardiovascular healthcare systems in five categories - information; consumer rights and choice; access; prevention; and procedures and outcomes.

The rankings were published just 24 hours after the European Commission proposed controversial new rights allowing patients to travel to any EU country to receive free care.

The Health Consumer Powerhouse said that the survey revealed the distance between "guidelines for heart disease management and the realities of day-to-day clinical practice" across Europe.

Screening programmes were generally found to be inadequate and there was also widespread under-use of medications such as statins and antiplatelets, despite guidelines.

Dr Arne Bjornberg, research director for the European Consumer Heart Index, said its survey demonstrated that comprehensive prevention programmes, such as smoking cessation initiatives, paid dividends for both governments and patients.

"By denying patients preventive care, countries put patients at risk and at the same time undermine the effectiveness of their healthcare expenditure."

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