ELLESMERE Port is celebrating a spectacular success in the battle against heart disease.
Government figures reveal the area has seen a 43% drop in cardiac disease-related deaths - the biggest in the country.
And the success rate is attributed to GPs' improved use of preventative medicine.
The announcement comes in a five-year Government progress report on heart disease called Leading the Way.
Dr Roger Boyle, national director for heart disease, said the Ellesmere Port success was down to a 'systematic approach' to preventative treatment.
He explained: 'This is a fantastic success but there is still a long way to go nationally.
'It all hinges on better tracking of at-risk groups, looking at people's genetic history and habits, like whether they smoke or have a high-cholesterol diet.
'Then we will encourage GPs to work with them proactively to prescribe the right drugs and improve their health as is appropriate.'
Dr Geoffrey Hayle, chairman of Ellesmere Port and Neston Primary Care Trust's professional executive committee, said: 'What we did was to systematically identify all the patients who were at risk and got them into the surgery.'
Dr Hayle added: 'In 1996, we had one of the worst rates of heart dis-ease in the country, up there with Manchester.
'To have come so far makes us very proud and is a real testament to the hard work and dedication of the GPs.'
The national average reduction in heart disease is 27%.
St Helens and Wirral saw a drop of 31% between 1996 and 2002. Halton's rate dropped by 26%, Warrington by 27% and Knowsley by 28%. In contrast, Manchester saw an average drop of just 20%.