A pharmacist led programme to assist primary care sites in the North West prevent atrial fibrillation (AF) related strokes has been commended at the prestigious Anticoagulation Achievement Awards (AAA), a body which identifies outstanding practice in the delivery of anticoagulation services across the UK.
Commended in the category of “The centre best able to demonstrate adherence to NICE Quality Standards for atrial fibrillation” were Tameside and Glossop CCG who worked in partnership with pharmacists from Interface Clinical Services and Health Innovation Manchester to deliver a programme which was designed to improve all aspects of patient care from the correct identification and diagnosis of AF to ensuring patients with AF were optimally anticoagulated.
The review was commissioned following NHS Right Care data which reported that the region showed a significant variation in the reported, versus the expected prevalence of AF. A team of clinical pharmacists from Interface Clinical Services worked closely with clinicians and nurses from 38 practices to review their AF population with the aim of reducing incidents of AF related strokes through early diagnosis, optimisation of anticoagulation therapy, improvement of the management of ‘known but not treated’ patients and support of patients via educational material, treatment adherence and lifestyle advice.
The programme which involved the assessment of over 4,500 patients, resulted in significant benefits to both patients and the NHS as it demonstrated a decrease in the projected 12 month stroke incidence within the region from 76.82% to 66.96%. External stroke admissions data showed a 22% reduction in strokes for a three month period following the completion of the programme compared to the previous year which, based on these figures, predicts that 114 strokes could be prevented each year. In terms of cost savings, with the current average societal cost of a stroke estimated at £45,409 in the first 12 months plus £24,778 in subsequent years, strokes prevented within Tameside and Glossop CCG could account for an in year NHS cost saving upwards of £1.5million and an overall societal cost saving of almost £5.2million.
Interface Service Development Lead, Jack Birchall who led the review comments: “We were absolutely delighted to be commended at the AAA awards as it recognises the importance of long term review and monitoring of AF patients in preventing strokes. During the review, we stratified AF patients who were at high risk of stroke. We then not only ensured that they were receiving optimal therapy to reduce the risk of stroke, reviewing vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) or direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) usage, but also talked directly to patients about the risk and symptoms of stroke or TIAs as many people with AF are not aware that they are five times more likely to suffer a stroke or TIA due to the formation of blood clots which can block arteries to the brain.”
About the awards
The Anticoagulation Achievement Awards (AAA) recognise the outstanding work of the medical centres, teams and individuals across secondary and primary care and community services who demonstrate innovation and excellence in delivering anticoagulation services, resources or individual leadership.