We must do all we can to halt Tameside decline to ‘heart disease capital of UK’, claims Shadow Health Minister

By Neil Robertson

Tameside must do ‘all it can’ to tackle its soaring heart disease death rates, claims a Tameside MP and shadow health minister.

Tameside was named the UK’s ‘heart disease capital’ after The British Heart Foundation revealed that the area had the highest death rates in the country yesterday.

Tameside people are more likely to die from coronary heart disease (CHD) than anywhere else in the UK, with 132 deaths per 100,000 people every year.

In stark contrast, London’s figure stands at just 39 deaths every 100,000 people.

Labour Shadow Health Minister and Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne said the mountainous difference in heart disease rates between Greater Manchester and other boroughs is something which urgently needs to be addressed.

 “Clearly it is very concerning that this report has found that people in Tameside are the most at risk of dying from heart disease in the UK,” he said.

“We do need to address some of the underlying factors that contribute to such wide variations in heart disease rates in different parts of the country.

“We need to do all we can to try and narrow this gap.”

Second to Tameside in the number of heart-related deaths in the Greater Manchester area were Greater Manchester (110), followed by Salford (102) and Oldham (101).

Other Greater Manchester boroughs on the list included Rochdale (98), Bolton (95), Wigan (94), Bury (89) and Stockport (85).

BHF Medical Director Professor Peter Weissberg pointed to lifestyle choices of Tameside residents as a factor in the borough’s worryingly high heart disease death rates.

“We know that smoking rates, obesity, physical inactivity and poor diet are significantly higher in Tameside than the national average,” he said.

“These are key factors in increasing the likelihood of developing heart disease, and a serious issue in deprived areas of the UK.”

However, Professor Weissberg refused to focus solely on Manchester, suggesting that the heart disease rates across the country were a cause for concern.

“These latest figures expose staggering inequalities in deaths from heart disease across the UK,” he said.

“It’s unacceptable that people continue to die from heart attacks, regardless of their postcode. That’s why we need more research to help fight heart disease, whatever their path to developing it.

 The British Heart Foundation has launched a new campaign called Fight For Every Heartbeat, which aims to raise funds to beat heart disease.

To join the fight for every heartbeat today, text FIGHT to 70123 and give £3, or make a donation by visiting

Picture courtesy of TW Collins, with thanks.

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