New guidance helps healthcare systems overcome disruption to CVD prevention due to pandemic

Back New guidance helps healthcare systems overcome disruption to CVD prevention due to pandemic

A new practical guide has been produced to help healthcare systems across England get back on track in tackling cardiovascular disease (CVD) following disruption caused by Covid-19.

Rates of CVD are closely linked to health inequalities which have widened since the pandemic started. Government restrictions and national lockdowns are likely to have amplified unhealthy behaviours, and it is to be expected that patients have had less contact with healthcare professionals since the pandemic began last year, leading to lower detection rates for CVD risk factors such as hypertension and atrial fibrillation.

The practical guidance includes best practice case studies from across England. It is aimed at those responsible for planning or delivering CVD prevention programmes within Integrated Care Systems (ICSs), Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

The document provides detail on the following key-system recommendations:

  •  Making CVD prevention a system ambition
  • Cross-sector working
  • Using GP practice- and primary care network-level data to identify local issues
  • Linking with other strategies
  • Healthy behaviours
  • CV risk factors
  • Inequalities
  • Governance and reporting
  • Shared learning

"CVD prevention during and after the COVID-19 pandemic" is published on the Oxford AHSN website and is available for download here.

Professor Gary Ford, Chief Executive of the Oxford AHSN, said: “Cardiovascular disease is a major driver of health inequalities – and effective treatment has been one of the major drivers of health improvement in recent decades. Major opportunities still remain to improve the population’s health through better treatment of CVD risk factors. We hope our new guidance will help system leaders improve CVD prevention measures following during and after the pandemic.”

Dr David Hargroves, national GIRFT lead for stroke and a consultant stroke physician at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It is crucial that the NHS urgently addresses CVD prevention as part of the response to Covid-19. We know that fewer patients presented with heart attack and stroke during the early phase of the pandemic, but late treatment or no treatment for these conditions will have a negative effect. We hope this guidance helps teams get back on track with CVD prevention work, offering innovations and good practice to emulate in their work with patients.”

This practical guide has been produced in a collaboration between the Oxford Academic Health Science Network (Oxford AHSN), the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme and the Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH).