In September 2020, Scottish Labour Public Health Minister David Stewart led a debate in the Scottish Parliament marking Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week in the UK. The motion, highlighting the issue of Scotland’s ageing population and the increased prevalence of severe heart valve disease, drew strong cross-party support, and Public Health Minister Joe Fitzpatrick signalled the Scottish Government’s support for heart valve disease patients.
MSPs from government and opposition parties shared their views on the impact heart valve disease has on patients and the health system, and Joan McAlpine MSP (Scottish National Party (SNP)) shared a moving account of her husband’s battle with aortic stenosis at the age of 52 and his needing open heart aortic valve surgery. McAlpine used the debate to urge people not to ignore heart valve disease symptoms and seek screening.
Shadow health ministers David Stewart MSP (Labour) and Brian Whittle MSP (Conservative) emphasised the importance of expanding treatment options available for HVD patients, and Fitzpatrick joined Stewart and Whittle in recognising the benefit of curative therapies for HVD patients through COVID-19.
Health inequalities, both in socio-economic causes of ill health and geographical inequities in access to care, drew strong thematic focus from the participating parliamentarians, and Fitzpatrick recognised the importance of expanding the availability of a range of treatment options for all cardiovascular patients, including heart valve disease patients, to tackle health inequalities across Scotland.
Text of the motion can be found here https://beta.parliament.scot/chamber-and-committees/votes-and-motions/votes-and-motions-search/S5M-22646
A recording of the debate can be found here https://www.scottishparliament.tv/meeting/members-business-heart-valve-disease-awareness-week-september-23-2020#:~:text=That%20the%20Parliament%20welcomes%20Heart,an%20ageing%20population%3B%20notes%20what
A transcript of the debate can be found here https://beta.parliament.scot/chamber-and-committees/what-was-said-and-official-reports/official-reports/meeting-of-parliament-23-09-2020?meeting=12839&iob=116082