A new £9 million programme aimed at improve early diagnosis of heart conditions has been launched by NHS England.
The new scheme will target more than 18,000 people, preventing around 700 strokes, saving an estimated 200 lives and stopping long-term health problems among thousands more, including disability.
The programme will run across 23 areas of the country with the highest rates of the condition receiving funding for specialist clinical pharmacists to help identify people who could benefit from medication.
‘Tackling heart disease and stroke is a top priority in the NHS Long Term Plan, which will save thousands of lives by better diagnosis and treatment for people with killer conditions,’ said NHS medical director, Professor Stephen Powis. ‘By targeting help at those people most at risk of illness, and training up specialist clinicians, the NHS in England will help families across the country avoid the pain and loss associated with stroke.’
Patients will be identified by specialist nurses and clinical pharmacists across the country who are trained to treat a heart condition – called atrial fibrillation – which increases the chance of having a stroke.
Patients who have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation but are not receiving treatment will be offered a personalised treatment plan developed with their GP.
‘Not only is stroke one of the biggest killers in our country, but it leads to life-changing and often devastating long-term harm for many others, so by spotting the risks early, the NHS will not only prevent serious harm to the people affected, but avoid the need for aftercare which puts additional pressure on the health service,’ added Professor Powis.
‘This is a great step in the right direction,’ said Juliet Bouverie, Chief Executive of the Stroke Association.