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Work to reduce strokes featured at conference

Posted: 11th December 2018

Delegates to the UK Stroke Forum in Telford were given an update on the work being done to reduce the number of stokes across Yorkshire and Humber.

Ruth Wilson, Programme Lead at Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) and Diane McPartland, Quality Improvement Facilitator (seconded from Bayer) were among over 110 expert speakers and researchers taking part in the three-day event hosted by the Stroke Association and British Association of Stroke Physicians.

Ruth and Diane talked about the current project, which supports GP practices to reduce strokes by identifying and effectively managing patients with Atrial Fibrillation (AF) through the use of innovative mobile ECG devices funded by NHS England.

Many strokes associated with AF can be avoided. Each AF related stroke causes life changing morbidity and suffering. It is estimated that there are 38,736 people in Yorkshire and Humber who have AF but are not on their GP’s AF register. Of the 111,074 people known to have AF, 16,580 are at high risk of stroke and are not being adequately protected. The consequences of these facts are 1,312 avoidable strokes per annum. In addition to the obvious benefits for patients, the effective management of AF could result in a £124m per year saving across England as a result of avoided strokes.

In March 2017, the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN and Bayer Plc entered a Joint Working agreement, to pilot a quality improvement stroke prevention project.

This pilot ran for one year and involved 36 GP practices. In March 2018 more GP practices were invited to take part, based on the potential opportunity of the practice to reduce stroke risk. This second phase of the work, forms part of a two-year project to identify and treat patients with AF, the first year of which is in partnership with Bayer.

Around 120 practices across Yorkshire and Humber are now taking part in the programme and delivering results by:

  • supporting the identification of patients at risk of stroke
  • increasing the numbers of AF patients appropriately receiving anticoagulation identified as moderate to high risk of AF related stroke not currently receiving appropriate anticoagulation
  • reducing the number of moderate to high-risk patients currently receiving anti-platelet monotherapy for stroke prevention in line with current guidance
  • leaving a legacy of learning through QI methodology on the benefit of treatment optimisation and effective management of Atrial Fibrillation