AHSN AF Programme

Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) are partnership organisations and the only bodies that connect NHS and academic organisations, local authorities, the third sector and industry, we are catalysts that create the right conditions to facilitate change across whole health and social care economies, with a clear focus on improving outcomes for patients.

Since 2014, all 15 AHSNs have been working collaboratively to reduce AF-related strokes though the application of a whole pathway approach to:

Increasing AF detection

Increasing anticoagulation prescribing in those patients with AF and at high risk of stroke

Supporting local services to ensure anticoagulation prescribing is optimised
and patients are supported with adherence

This collaboration was formally commissioned as an AHSN national programme by NHS England in 2017. This facilitated the introduction of a greater networked approach with the establishment of a steering group, national programme team, programme metrics and outcome indicators.

AHSNs have collectively identified best practice in AF stroke prevention and are working to disseminate this across their networks. Working in collaboration with our NHS and social care partners has helped to deliver an increase in AF diagnoses to over 190,000 and provide lifesaving anticoagulation therapy to more than 200,000 people with AF who are at high risk of a stroke.

Our unique national programme spans the whole patient pathway for AF (Detect, Protect and Perfect), crosses organisational boundaries, improving communication and collaboration between primary and secondary care organisations. We encourage commissioners and clinicians to realise the economic and social impacts of investing in AF stroke prevention through the smart use of data.

We are supporting the increased detection of AF and have distributed 6,000 AF detection devices to primary care settings, enabling staff to detect and treat patients with AF more quickly.

We are supporting the increased detection of AF and have distributed 6,000 AF detection devices to primary care settings, enabling staff to detect and treat patients with AF more quickly.

To ensure individuals diagnosed with AF are offered the most suitable anticoagulation therapy, we are assisting GPs to deliver a new model of care, referenced in the NHS Long Term Plan, which utilises specialist anticoagulant pharmacists to provide bespoke education and support to primary care prescribers on the use of anticoagulation therapy, ensuring 18,000 people will receive anticoagulation, preventing 700 strokes and 200 deaths.

Although AHSNs are small organisations – which ensures we remain flexible and responsive to local emerging opportunities and challenges – Atrial Fibrillation is a nationwide collaborative programme. Hence our impact rests in our ability to share ideas, bring people, resources, and organisations together quickly, delivering benefits that could not be achieved alone.
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