National CVD Strategy

Preventing cardiovascular disease is a national priority and is central to the NHS Long Term Plan. AF-related strokes are very preventable – taking anticoagulant medication in AF can reduce the risk of stroke by up to two thirds.

Despite this, around 1 in 6 people with AF are undiagnosed and almost half of those with known AF who suffer a stroke have not been treated with anticoagulants before their stroke. One reason for this is that this common condition is often silent with no symptoms to alert the patient or clinician. Getting the diagnosis and treatment right can be difficult in time-pressured GP consultations where multi-morbidity and multiple priorities are the norm.

The NHS Long Term Plan, the Public Health England CVD Ambitions and the 2020 GP contract address these challenges with new resources and new models of care that will help us to improve our treatment of people at increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) because of undiagnosed or under-treated high risk conditions like AF, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The transformation of primary care that is at the heart of the NHS Long Term Plan will support us to optimise diagnosis and treatment while relieving pressure on general practice. We will achieve this by doing things differently, with our expanding workforce of clinical pharmacists and others developing new pathways to case-find and optimise treatment at scale.

The transformation of primary care that is at the heart of the NHS Long Term Plan will support us to optimise diagnosis and treatment while relieving pressure on general practice.

This approach will be underpinned by CVDprevent, the new national audit for primary care that will extract routinely recorded GP data using the automated GP Extraction Service (GPES) mechanism. The audit will provide updated comprehensive insight every 3 months into the assessment, diagnosis and management of AF as well as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other high-risk conditions for CVD. This will be a powerful new tool to support professionally-led quality improvement, helping us in practices and primary care networks to identify gaps, inequalities and opportunities for better care for our patients

This Atrial Fibrillation Toolkit is an excellent resource. It will help us to do things differently providing methodologies, resources and support for commissioners and clinicians to reduce AF-related strokes in their local communities.

MATT KEARNEY
GP and Programme Director UCL Partners AHSN

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