Heart patients helped by closer collaboration | Our news

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Heart patients helped by closer collaboration

NHS pharmacy services

Heart patients in north east London are now at less risk of stroke.

It’s thanks to a campaign led by Barts Health pharmacists working with clinicians from three local boroughs.

Around one in five patients with an abnormal heart rate in Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge were not receiving lifesaving anticoagulant medicines.

It was putting them at high risk of getting blood clots and triggering serious conditions such as strokes and heart attacks.

A group including hospital doctors, GP surgeries and community pharmacists wanted to tackle the issue, which is also 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 around 10,000 patients diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat – a condition called atrial fibrillation.

An educational programme was created to raise awareness of anticoagulants amongst pharmacy staff and health care assistants.

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 patients.

In just 12 months prescription rates have increased to 95% – well above the national target of 90%.

Their efforts have been recognised with a place at the final of the HSJ Patient Safety Awards.

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 primary and secondary care.

"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 would be the icing on the cake!"

The HSJ Patient Safety Awards take place on 15 September in Manchester. The team are shortlisted in the ‘Best Use of Integrated Care and Partnership Working in Patient Safety’ award category.

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