In this blog Programme Manager James Bowman highlights the national Blood Pressure Optimisation Programme being mobilised across the country.
The evidence is clear, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and hypertension share common underlying risk factors. People with pre-existing CVD, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure are not only at greater risk of having a heart attack, stroke or developing some forms of dementia, they both disproportionately affect the most deprived communities. Out of the most common causes of death, CVD is the largest contributor to the gap in life expectancy between the most and least deprived, accounting for up to 25% of the difference. Data also shows that premature CVD mortality is four times higher in the most deprived communities which is why health inequalities is part of the Core20plus5 initiative.
This is why the CVD national ambitions and the NHS Long Term Plan commitment to prevent 150,000 heart attacks and strokes over the next 10 years, remain vital to recovery and restoration. Now, two years on from when they were first published, commitments remain just, if not more, relevant. Other drivers include the Network Contract DES for CVD as well as support from community pharmacy blood pressure check service.
So, what is the role of the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN in blood pressure optimisation? I am responsible for leading the regional implementation of the programme, supported by colleagues as part of the wider CVD team. We have begun to have conversations at local Integrated Care System (ICS) level with CVD prevention and detection network leads, as well as some engagement at individual primary care network (PCN) level. A range of support tools and resources have been made available for GP practices to use and adopt to prioritise those patients whose blood pressure maybe at sub-optimal levels or poorly controlled due to the pandemic. These maybe used to compliment or assist with local searches that may already be in use or available across the networks.
It is also helpful to consider how digital products can help alleviate pressures on the primary care workforce by utilising products such as AccuRx, AirmidCares and/or Patient Access, but there may also be other digital solutions/approaches available.
Innovation and Best Practice
Information related to the National Blood Pressure Optimisation Programme from Yorkshire & Humber AHSN is available here.
My ask of Integrated Care System leads, PCNs and GPs is to get the conversation started and reach out to us. We know how busy primary care is at this time and there are many resources available to support CVD, please reach out to us for a more detailed discussion on how we may be able to help.