A campaign to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke among men and women in north east London has been recognised with a HSJ award.
Around one in ten patients with an abnormal heart rate in three local boroughs - Havering, Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham - were not receiving lifesaving anticoagulant - or blood thinning - medicines.
In Redbridge alone, around 10,000 people were missing out on lipid lowering therapies – known as statins.
This was putting them at high risk of blood clots and triggering medical emergencies such as heart attacks and strokes.
A collaboration including hospital doctors, GP surgeries and pharmacists working in primary care wanted to tackle the issue, which is a priority in the NHS Long Term Plan.
With the help of Queen Mary University of London’s Clinical Effectiveness Group and UCLPartners, they reviewed the treatment plans of thousands of patients.
An educational programme was created to raise awareness of anticoagulants and statins amongst primary care clinicians.
An advice service was also set up by specialist cardiac pharmacists from St Bartholomew’s Hospital to discuss the suitability of the medication in the most complex cases.
Prescription rates for anticoagulants increased from 88% to 94% - well above the national target of 90% - and over 3,000 people were offered statins.
The team believe the approach has prevented at least 34 strokes and 41 heart attacks.
Their efforts were recognised with a place in the final of the HSJ Patient Safety Awards in 2022.
This year the team have gone one better by being named the Medicines, Pharmacy and Prescribing Initiative of the Year at the flagship HSJ awards in London last night.
Judges praised the "extremely clear ambition and need" and "impressive commitment to sustainability, scalability and reducing inequalities."
The group have shared their work with other healthcare providers in the capital.
St Bartholomew’s head of pharmacy Sotiris Antoniou said: "This project shows the power of local collaboration and bringing together both primary and secondary care to provide care much closer to home.
"To reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke for hundreds of families above the national average, and to do so during the pandemic, is a fantastic feeling.
"A HSJ award win is the icing on the cake!"
Dr Raliat Onatade, chief pharmacist for Barts Health and North East London Integrated Care system, called it: "An impressive example of collaboration” which “led to better health outcomes for the people of north east London.
She said: “I'm delighted that the judges have recognised the benefits for our residents. Very well done to the team.”
The HSJ Awards 2023 took place on Thursday 16 November. Barts Health NHS Trust was shortlisted in a record eight categories in total, winning one.
Pictured: Sotiris (third in from the left) and our winning team with award host Matt Lucas.