Thought Leadership Forum on  Cardiovascular Disease

HPP is working to establish an innovative forum with the aim of accelerating policy leadership and transformation in cardiovascular disease.

Leadership Forum on Cardiovascular Disease


Over the past 50 years, European countries have seen consistent growth in life expectancy, largely due to improvements in the management of cardiovascular disease (CVD). But this progress has stalled, and the number of people dying from CVD is steadily rising. This is a serious concern for the future of our societies and health systems.

CVD takes a huge toll on people’s lives and costs European countries billions of euros. CVD is Europe’s leading cause of death, accounting for 45% of all deaths in 2017. But a high proportion of these are preventable, either through addressing modifiable risk factors or improving access to high-quality care and disease management.

If we know how to prevent and manage CVD, why aren’t we doing it? There is no easy answer, but it is telling that despite the huge structural barriers to securing consistent guideline-based cardiovascular care for all who need it, political awareness of CVD appears to be low. Many national plans and strategies in this area are outdated, or lack concrete investment and implementation measures.

There have recently been signs of renewed interest in CVD. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a huge toll on front-line care services, but has also been a wake-up call for governments to reconsider the resilience and sustainability of our health systems. We urgently need greater clarity as to what effective CVD policies might look like.

What we’ve achieved

In 2022, HPP is establishing a new Thought Leadership Forum on Cardiovascular Disease. It aims to stimulate new strategic debates, reach new decision-maker audiences, equip advocates at the national and international level to make a case for change, and ultimately accelerate policy leadership and transformation in CVD.

This programme of work has been initiated with the publication of a discussion paper, Making the case for political urgency in cardiovascular disease. The paper provides the context and rationale for this work and a public statement of intent. It focuses on four types of CVD: atherosclerotic CVD, atrial fibrillation, heart failure and heart valve disease.

Following publication of the discussion paper, HPP will continue to consult and engage key stakeholders, develop an evidence-based case for change for advocates to leverage in national discussions, and collaborate on policy engagement efforts. Among the questions we will be considering are the following:

  • How do we ensure we do not repeat another decade of underinvestment in CVD?
  • How do we generate greater interest in CVD from higher echelons of political life, aligned to the true scale of impact on society and missed opportunity?
  • What would characterise effective responses to CVD from governments?
  • What is the role of CVD in driving wider societal priorities, such as economic growth, health system sustainability and resilience, and reducing inequalities?

To find out more about the Thought Leadership Forum on Cardiovascular Disease, please contact us at

Project funding

This initiative is made possible with financial support from Amgen, Bayer AG, Bristol Myers Squibb and Novartis Pharma AG. The funders are also contributing members of the initiative.