Back The newly appointed National Clinical Director for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention looks at the challenges ahead
At a time of major financial constraint and unprecedented demand on the staff who deliver healthcare at the front line, we will only achieve this by doing things differently and by building new partnerships.
There are 3 key elements to focus on:
Systematic approaches to improve our role in primary prevention: for example, community wellbeing and social prescribing initiatives can reduce GP workload while providing patients with more systematic and expert support for behaviour change. Innovative wellbeing partnerships linked to practices are springing up across the country, for example in Newcastle, Brighton and Halton.
Systematic approaches to improve our role in secondary prevention: for example, supporting practices to reduce unwarranted variation in detection and management of high risk conditions such as hypertension, atrial fibrillation, raised cholesterol and diabetes. Bradford and Tower Hamlets have established successful programmes – and their success is very much driven by local primary care leadership. Innovative approaches elsewhere have included greater use of pharmacists, self-monitoring by patients and new technologies. The expanding RightCare programme will support CCGs to identify local opportunities for improvement.
The NHS Health Check and new Diabetes Prevention Programme offer a systematic approach for reaching individuals with undiagnosed risk factors. And the evolving new models of care in the Vanguard sites will provide a real opportunity for innovation to support earlier diagnosis and improved management.
NHS support for population level approaches to prevention: CCGs and local authorities across the country are now developing their STPs – the long term Sustainability and Transformation Plans. There is a real opportunity for GPs and others in the NHS to offer clinical leadership and support in developing the STPs, to ask challenging questions of local authority and other partners on behalf of patient populations, and to help champion a system-wide approach to building health and wellbeing that will complement our actions in the NHS.
Over the coming months, I will be working closely with the National Clinical Directors for heart disease, stroke and diabetes to see how we can best support the NHS to play its part in preventing cardiovascular disease.
Matt Kearney is NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and a GP in Runcorn.
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