SHARP Scottish Heart and Arterial disease Risk Prevention


SHARP was launched at Gleneagles on the 9th December 1988 at a time when deaths in Scotland from cardiovascular disease including coronary artery disease, stroke and peripheral artery disease were among the highest in the world. SHARP’s role was to tackle this problem with the aim of reducing premature illness and death from cardiovascular disease across Scotland. SHARP provided a range of education initiatives for both health professionals and the general public into the management and prevention of vascular disease. They helped actively identify modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and encouraged behavioural change in those individuals as well as their families. Research into the effects and causes of vascular disease was also an important part of the work of SHARP.

Sharp Bus

The SHARP bus was launched in December 1991 by the then Scottish Health Minister Michael Forsyth now Lord Forsyth. At the launch the Health Minister indicated that the premature death from coronary heart disease in Scotland was too high and the aim of the government was to reduce it by one quarter by the year 2000. This he stated, equated to the prevention of 10,000 deaths.

The SHARP BUS, a bright red double decker bus toured Scotland between 1991 and 1996. It offered people, mainly at their place of work, individual risk factor screening and counselling. The bus was converted by TaysidePublic Transport Company and consisted of a reception area, two screening areas (one upstairs and one downstairs) and a staff room. It was staffed by three trained nurses. The bus visited 780 screening sites and a total of 19,400 individuals aged 18-70 were screened. There were two repeat site visits with 1,790 screened for a second time.

The aim of the bus was to –

  • Achieve a clearer awareness of coronary risk factors in the working population of Scotland.
  • To educate the screened population through counselling and advice in risk factor reduction.
  • To analysethe screening data collected along with follow up data.
  • Obtain a clearer appreciation of an individual’s risk factor profile and the prediction of a future event.