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Heart patients helped by closer collaboration – HSJ Patient Safety award nomination

Heart patients in north east London are at less risk of stroke thanks to a campaign by North East London CCG, Barts Health, Queen Mary University Clinical Effectiveness Group (CEG) and UCL Partners.

Around one in five patients with an abnormal heart rate in Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge were not receiving lifesaving anticoagulant medicines which was putting them at high risk of developing blood clots and 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 from CEG and UCL Partners, they reviewed 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 and an advice service was also set up by specialist cardiac pharmacists from St Bartholomew’s Hospital to discuss the suitability of 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 an HSJ Patient Safety Awards nomination.

Dr Shabana Ali, North East London CCG’s clinical lead said: “This project was about empowering GPs, bringing care closer to home for patients and ensuring effective and efficient care delivery.

Our highly trained pharmacists supported the Multi-Disciplinary Teams allowing primary and secondary care to work together on bringing the best care focused on their patients.”

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.