PHE announce national ambitions to improve detection and treatment of CVD

PHE announce national ambitions to improve detection and treatment of CVD

February 14, 2019

A new coalition led by Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England has announced the first ever national ambitions to improve the detection and treatment of atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure and high cholesterol (A-B-C) – the major causes of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Detecting and treating these conditions can prevent or delay the onset of CVD, but millions are unaware they are at risk and in need of treatment. Over 5 million people are currently living with undiagnosed high blood pressure in England alone. By 2029, PHE and NHS England want:

  • to detect and treat millions more people living with high blood pressure who are currently undiagnosed; currently, just over half (57%) of those with high blood pressure have been detected (6.8 million people) – the ambition is to increase this to 4 in 5 people (80%);
  • to ensure three quarters (75%) of 40- to 74-year-olds have received a formal CVD risk check and have had their cholesterol levels recorded; currently fewer than half (49%) of those eligible for a formal check have received one (7.6 million people); and
  • to increase from 35% to 45% the proportion of 40 to 74 year olds at high risk of developing CVD who are treated with statins.

The A-B-C conditions can be detected through routine checks across primary care, including within some community pharmacies.

The ambitions include recommendations for decision makers and frontline professionals on getting more people checked and best practice for identifying and treating those already at risk. People aged between 40 and 74 are also being urged to get their free NHS Health Check, which helps detect the early warning signs of CVD.

Commenting on the national ambitions, Alastair Buxton, Director of NHS Services, PSNC, said:

“Many community pharmacies already play an important role in identifying people with undiagnosed CVD, via locally commissioned services such as hypertension and AF screening and the NHS Health Check. We want to see more commissioning of this type of service so that community pharmacy teams can play a full part in realising PHE and NHS England’s national ambitions.

“In the NHS Long Term Plan, NHS England committed to testing approaches to identification of undiagnosed hypertension and AF through pharmacies; we look forward to working with NHS England on this, building on the great work of many LPCs which have already implemented local services focused on hypertension and AF detection.”

PHE’s publication includes a case study on a service in Cheshire which includes community pharmacies. Links to other case studies of community pharmacy services related to CVD can be found on PSNC’s Services Case Study Hub.


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