Alliance for Heart Failure update – Autumn 2020:
Welcome to the third Alliance for Heart Failure update of 2020. Following the Covid-19 outbreak, we realigned our plans for the year to address the immediate issues prompted by the pandemic and – as the focus shifts towards NHS recovery – have used this recent period to prepare for a concerted campaign to raise awareness of the importance of high-quality heart failure provision for patients everywhere.
In July, the British Society for Heart Failure published new guidance on the planned recovery phase of essential heart failure services during the Covid-19 pandemic. This is an update of the position statement and video providing advice and guidance to frontline staff on the retention of essential heart failure services produced in the spring.
Over the course of the summer, the Alliance supported this effort by distributing the guidance among all Integrated Care Systems (ICS) / Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STP) across the country. The response was positive and proactive, with services citing that the guidance has been shared with members of relevant teams, such as pre-pandemic Cardiovascular Disease and Long Term Condition teams.
Health and Social Care Committee Inquiry
In October, The Health and Social Care Select Committee (HSCC) published its report entitled, ‘Delivering core NHS and care services during the pandemic and beyond’. The report seeks to address the challenges raised in written and oral evidence throughout the Inquiry of the same title, to which the Alliance submitted a response in May 2020. The report includes reference to the evidence submitted by the Alliance for Heart Failure and reflects the themes of the Alliance’s submission, including the resumption of core services, improved communication with patients, and the use of ‘technology and digital alternatives’.
2. National Programme
Having been forced to postpone the Westminster Heart Failure roundtable – originally scheduled for March – due to the lockdown, the Alliance will be staging an online discussion on October 26th, focusing on heart failure provision, the implications of the NHS Long Term Plan and the impact of Covid-19 for patients.
The rescheduled roundtable will be hosted by Steve McCabe MP. He will be joined by a panel of influential speakers and two heart failure patients, who will explain their personal experience of treatment.
We will also be launching our new report: ‘Heart Failure: A Call to Action’, which reviews the recommendations of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Heart Disease, first published in 2016. The report, which has been developed with input from heart failure specialists, patient groups, and professional organisations, calls for urgent action to deliver change.
3. Regional Plans
We have continued to monitor the publication of regional NHS 5 Year Plans by each ICS / STP to ensure that heart failure services are adequately addressed. A letter and briefing on the variation in the access to heart failure services across the UK have been deployed to those who fail to mention, or mention only very briefly, heart failure within its consultation.
The Alliance has so far received positive responses from numerous regional Systems, ranging from an indication that the Alliance’s input will be used to influence regional heart failure strategy, to requests for discussions with the Alliance and briefing material to inform plans. It is encouraging to see an increasing number of Systems referring to heart failure in their Long Term Plans, after previously failing to do so in their 2016 proposals.
4. The Fighting Failure campaign
The Fighting Failure campaign, of which the Alliance is a supporter, launched in September. The campaign, supported by the British Society for Heart Failure and Novartis, aims to reposition heart failure in the minds of the public, patients, healthcare professionals, parliamentarians and policy makers by raising awareness of the impact of heart failure. Its goal is to drive momentum to improve heart failure care across the UK and improve quality of life for patients.
Finally, we were delighted to welcome both AstraZeneca UK and Boehringer Ingelheim Limited as new members of the Alliance for Heart Failure this year. We look forward to extending the influence of the group further in the future.
Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are making excellent progress towards our goals and have exciting plans to improve awareness of heart failure to ensure patients receive the treatment they need, while continuing to drive policy change.
Thank you for your ongoing interest and support for the Alliance. If you have any comments or suggestions, please contact the Alliance Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Louise Clayton, Richard Corder – Co-chairs, Alliance for Heart Failure