Local NHS Driving Improvements In Stroke PreventionNHS West Hampshire CCG is one of a handful of CCGs being profiled in a report released today. We have been showcased for our innovative work around diagnosing and treating people with atrial fibrillation, a serious heart condition which often leads to stroke.

Atrial fibrillation causes your heart to become irregular and at times very fast. It causes shortness of breath, tiredness and dizziness.

NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC) is today launching their new publication Delivering a healthier future: How CCGs are leading the way on prevention and early diagnosis. Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, writes in his foreword to the report that “it’s heartening to see that CCGs are driving improvements” and that “commissioners across the country are increasingly taking prevention and early diagnosis seriously.”

The full report can be read here: http://www.nhscc.org/latest-news/delivering-a-healthier-future/. Our CCG is profiled on page 24 of the report.

This report includes a range of exciting projects undertaken by CCGs throughout England, all of which centre around the work we are doing to prevent and diagnose serious health conditions early.

In west Hampshire, we identified atrial fibrillation as being a major risk factor for stroke for people in our area. As the report explains, we believe that around 2,000 people had undiagnosed atrial fibrillation in 2014.

As a result, we bought in state of the art technology in the shape of ‘WatchBP’ machines. These devices, which we have rolled out in all of our 51 GP practices, detect whether you have atrial fibrillation and also measures your blood pressure. These devices are being used as part of NHS Health Checks, long term conditions clinics and flu clinics.

The devices have been helping our colleagues in GP practices to help diagnose people with atrial fibrillation, who can now receive the treatment they need. The earlier the diagnosis, the earlier the patient can be prescribed with the right medicine to help manage the condition and therefore reduce the risk of stroke.

While we continue to analyse the difference this is making to patients, we have found that there were fewer actual strokes from April to July 2015 compared to the same period in 2014. The report identifies that, between September 2014 and March 2015, the total number of expected strokes for the year ahead in high-risk people with atrial fibrillation fell by 10 per cent.

Dr Sarah Schofield, local GP and Chair of NHS West Hampshire CCG, said:

“I’m delighted to see the positive impact that our roll out of WatchBP devices in west Hampshire is having. One of the big challenges around diagnosing atrial fibrillation is that there are very few symptoms, which means many people will not even realise they have the condition. Thanks to this state of the art equipment, we can help diagnose this condition sooner from the routine clinics our GP practices hold.

“It is a tribute to our teams here at the CCG that their work is being showcased nationally”.

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