National CVD prevention update
Over recent years there has been growing attention on cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention through improved detection and management of the high risk conditions such as atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure and high cholesterol in different parts of the country. Dr Matt Kearney, National Clinical Director for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention describes a number of encouraging national developments:
- In January 2017, the NHS Prevention Board agreed to endorse CVD prevention as a priority for the health and social care system. In March, NHS England published the document ‘Next Steps on the NHS 5 Year Forward View’ which highlights CVD prevention as a 'must do' for CCGs.
- The rationale accepted by NHSE is that the high-risk conditions for CVD are treatable, that treatment is very effective at preventing heart attacks and strokes and that diagnosis is often late and treatment suboptimal – so there is substantial opportunity for improvement.
- The Next Steps document commits NHS RightCare to work with every CCG in the country to support improved detection and management of these conditions. There is clear recognition that this not about driving GPs and nurses to work harder, but will require a new systematic approach to mobilise the wider primary care system and support general practice – for example, greater role for pharmacists, more self-testing, new technologies and telehealth.
- Some CCGs have already implemented substantial improvements and NHS RightCare will now be working with every CCG to adapt the CVD Prevention Pathway for local use in a systematic way.
- The British Heart Foundation (BHF) also has a team working across the UK to help GPs, nurses and pharmacists build CVD communities of practice to support local clinical leadership to drive quality improvement. BHF has also committed significant resources to develop new models of care to improve the detection of undiagnosed hypertension and is also supporting work to test the feasibility of a national CVD prevention audit and decision support tool.
- The Royal College of GPs will be hosting a free conference with RightCare on Friday 6 October in London to focus on how to improve detection and management of the high-risk conditions for CVD.
- Public Health England is developing a programme of work to support Sustainability and Transformation plans (STPs) in primary prevention.