High Street health checks trial in Southwark led to “25 per cent reduction in strokes”

Katherine Johnston (23 September, 2019) Health

Nationwide roll out planned after success in our borough

28819(Image: stock)

Health checks for killer conditions are now being offered in high street pharmacies after a pilot in Southwark saw the rate of one type of stroke cut by a quarter.

From October 1, community pharmacists will start offering the early detection tests so people can be referred for treatment at the earliest opportunity.

In a pilot scheme in Southwark and Lambeth, GPs, specialist nurses and pharmacies worked together to find patients who had been diagnosed with a condition called Atrial Fibrillation (AF), where they have irregular heart rhythms, but were not taking the medicine they needed.

In a twelve month period, 1,400 cases were reviewed across 92 practices, all of whom were not taking the medicines – anticoagulants – they needed to reduce their risk of stroke.

A total of 1,300 of them are now taking this treatment, which is estimated to prevent around 45 strokes per year.

The two CCGs have since seen a 25 per cent reduction in AF-related strokes.

The trial was so successful, the NHS has rolled out the project across the country with the help of a £9 million funding boost.

Helen Williams, consultant pharmacist for cardiovascular disease at Lambeth and Southwark Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “We have seen a substantial increase in the number of patients with Atrial Fibrillation who are prescribed anticoagulant therapy, and an associated reduction in AF-related strokes.

“We are delighted that NHS England has invested in this model so that more patients across the country can benefit.”

“To support this approach, NHS England will commission a regular national primary care audit, called CVD prevent, making it easier for practices to systematically identify people whose treatment could be improved, and risk reduced.”

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