Cardiovascular disease (CVD), which includes coronary heart disease and strokes, is a major cause of disability and leads to one in four deaths in England.

In 2019, Public Health England estimated that annual CVD-related healthcare costs in England were £7.4 billion. It estimated the annual cost to the wider economy in terms of social and informal care costs at £15.8 billion.

The Department of Health and Social Care is responsible for polices and strategies related to reducing CVD. Local authorities, with Directors of Public Health, commission health checks and services such as smoking cessation and weight loss programmes. Local NHS services provide health checks, medication and other clinical preventive services.

The study will build on our previous reports on alcohol treatment services, active travel and childhood obesity.


The study will examine how effectively government is identifying, preventing and mitigating the impact of CVD on people and the economy. It will look at:

  • the scale of CVD in England, and the government’s strategy for preventing and managing it
  • whether the healthcare system, through tools such as health checks, identifies people at risk of CVD
  • how effective health services such as weight management and smoking cessation are in reducing the risk of CVD

NAO Team

Director: Ashley McDougall
Audit Manager: Marisa Chambers