People living in north east London who have an irregular heart rhythm, otherwise known as atrial fibrillation (AF) are now at less risk of a debilitating stroke, thanks to a campaign led by Barts Health pharmacists.
Around one in five AF patients in Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge were not receiving lifesaving anticoagulant medicines. This was putting them at higher risk of developing blood clots and experiencing potentially fatal strokes or heart attacks.
A group of hospital doctors, GP surgeries and GP practice based pharmacists worked together to tackle this local issue, which is also a priority within the national NHS Long Term Plan.
With the help of QMUL and UCLPartners, the group reviewed the care plans of around 10,000 patients diagnosed with AF to see whether anticoagulant therapy had been prescribed. They then worked to create an educational programme to raise awareness of anticoagulants amongst pharmacy staff and health care assistants. In addition, an advice service was also set up by specialist cardiac pharmacists from St Bartholomew’s Hospital to discuss the suitability of the medication in the most complex patients.
In just 12 months anticoagulant prescription rates have increased to 95% – well above the national target of 90%. The group have shared their work with other healthcare providers in the capital.
St Bartholomew’s Head of Pharmacy and a clinical lead for UCLPartners, Sotiris Antoniou said: “The project demonstrates the power of local collaboration and bringing together primary and secondary care.
“To reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke for hundreds of families, above the national average and to do so during the pandemic, is a fantastic feeling.
A HSJ award win would be the icing on the cake!”
The HSJ Patient Safety awards take place on 15 September in Manchester.