Welcome to the latest Alliance for Heart Failure update of 2024. This is shaping up to be a very busy year, with a number of campaigns and collaborations underway. Please read this update as there will be opportunities for you to get involved.

If you have not already done so, please connect with us on our new LinkedIn page. It is a useful tool for growing our outreach and keeping our members and supporters up to date.

Meeting with Professor Martin Myers, GIRFT Pathology Senior Clinical Advisor

At the start of March the Alliance had an update from Martin Myers regarding GIRFT’s work in standardising NT-proBNP pathways across the country. Given the progress of the workstream, and the availability of the diagnostics at 95% of sites across England, Professor Myers argued that the priority is now awareness amongst primary care clinicians and patients.

He has requested the Alliance work as a part of a ‘multi-stakeholder’ approach to raise awareness of the testing amongst primary care clinicians and patients.

Community Diagnostic Centres research

We are conducting research via Freedom of Information requests into the availability of NT-proBNP testing in Community Diagnostic Centres. Twelve questions covering five areas (Availability, Testing Volume, Guidelines, Targets/metrics, Scaling up) were issued to all ICBs in February with a very high response rate of (111 of 124 ICBs).

The results are currently being analysed, but provisional data suggest that only four ICBs have reported NT-proBNP testing is available within a local CDC. Some said that the test is in their plans, and a considerable number said that the data was held by the hospital trusts. We will be using these findings to continue to push for wider access to NT-proBNP testing, particularly in areas where population health needs dictate improved use.

New National Clinical Directors

The Alliance welcomed Professor Simon Ray (National Clinical Director for Heart Disease Professor) and Helen Williams (NCD for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention) to their new roles. We will be meeting them both to seek to discuss their future priorities, with a focus on how the Alliance can support their work in relevant areas in need of action.

Pharmacist campaign

We continue to work to improve pharmacists’ support for heart failure by showcasing new revenue opportunities and educational resources. Positive responses have been received from engagement with Alastair Buxton, Director of NHS Services at Community Pharmacy England, and Malcolm Harrison, CEO of Company Chemists’ Association. The opportunities offered by New Medicines Services and the importance of pharmacists in helping to optimise heart failure drugs as part of a multi-disciplinary team will guide these conversations.

Meeting with British Society for Heart Failure

The Alliance was briefed by members of the BSH regarding their 25in25 campaign. The Alliance will be working to leverage its resources and contacts in pharmacy, cardiac rehabilitation, and primary care in the seven pilot sites ahead of a national launch in 2025.

GP Incentives consultation

The Alliance has submitted a response to this consultation with members highlighting the need for GP practice to be incentivised and rewarded for taking action on heart failure cases in order to truly improve patient outcomes. We have suggested an annual ECG incentive to improve care quality, diagnosing not only for patients with left bundle branch block (LBBB), but also atrial fibrillation and other arrhythmias and cardiac conditions. We have also recommended an annual audit of patient populations, similar to diabetes programmes, to identify people at risk of heart failure, so that they can be contacted, monitored, and treated if necessary.