A study out today shows that Britain has one of the worst records in Europe for treating patients with heart disease.

A study out today shows that Britain has one of the worst records in Europe for treating patients with heart disease.

Heart patients in this country are far less likely to get potentially life-saving treatment and there are fewer heart specialists to monitor their care.

Patients also spend less time in intensive care after surgery and have less access to new drugs than their European counterparts.

The research team, led by Edinburgh Royal Infirmary heart specialist Keith Fox, studied more than 3,000 patients in 29 countries.

The level of NHS care for those with heart disease is well below the standards of Germany, Italy and France, according to the study.

They discovered that only 2 per cent of UK heart patients are treated with new "super aspirin" drugs designed to prevent clots forming during surgery, compared with 40 per cent of patients in the US and 34 per cent in Germany.

British patients spend just eight days in hospital after surgery compared with 11 in a German hospital.

France and Germany also have up to three times as many heart specialists as Britain.

Heart disease claims 180,000 lives in Britain every year.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said the Government was introducing new measures in the fight against the disease.

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