Despite the many challenges currently faced by the health service, 2022 continues to be a busy year for the Alliance for Heart Failure. We remain active in meeting and engaging with key stakeholders and following up with the recommendations from the Call to Action report. There is an ongoing Parliamentary programme and with Integrated Care Systems (ICS) now statutory, we are preparing a regional campaign aimed at supporting heart failure services in need.
Raising awareness of heart failure in primary care
The Alliance continues to raise awareness of heart failure diagnosis and treatment in primary care. A series of three articles is being published in Practice Nurse magazine with the first in the series appearing at the end of July.
- Practice Nurse (July / August 2022): Heart failure: A call to action for practice nurses: Diagnosing and monitoring heart failure
The remaining articles will be published in subsequent editions.
These three articles have been written with the aim of increasing the use of NT-ProBNP testing to diagnose heart failure, as well as encouraging practice nurses to take a more active role of monitoring the condition among those who attend the relevant comorbidity clinics.
The Alliance is also working with Education for Health to distribute these articles through its network of primary care practitioners and nurses.
Our response to the latest NICOR report
The Alliance published its response to the National Heart Failure Audit for the 2020/21 data in July. The topline finding was an 11% drop in heart failure patients admissions during this period. The full Alliance response can be read here.
Further exclusive comments were provided to The Express, which resulted in this high profile article:
- The Express: Heart failure: Expert says reduction in diagnoses ‘extremely worrying’ – symptoms to spot
A series of Parliamentary Questions have been tabled by MPs and Peers and answered by the Government around issues in echocardiography and heart failure diagnosis in primary care.
Some of those questions and answers can be found here:
- The impact of Community Diagnostic Centres (Henry Smith MP)
- Access to primary care for high risk patients (Baroness Masham)
- Measures to support low performing GP practices (Baroness Masham)
We will be following up these questions and responding to them answers when Parliament sits again in the autumn.
Meeting with the BSE
In June the Alliance met with Jo Sopala, CEO of the British Society for Echocardiography. The meeting considered the ongoing echocardiographer workforce problem. Members also discussed raising awareness of when an echo referral is appropriate and assisting a wider understanding of interpreting results.
The Alliance and the BSE agreed to support each others’ efforts to educate the primary care workforce. Subsequently, a triaging document for primary care is being shared with the Alliance for feedback.
A NICE approved regional campaign will start later this year aimed at contacts in the Greater Manchester, East Midlands, and Eastern of England region. This campaign will aim to support regional heart failure services deemed to be struggling by facilitating the sharing of best practice, providing business models and funding opportunities.
Thank you for your ongoing interest and support for the Alliance.
Louise Clayton and Joel Rose, Alliance for Heart Failure Co-Chairs