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Specialist GPNs to review practice lists for AF patients under new NHS scheme

Specialist practice nurses and pharmacists are to review practice records to find patients with a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation not receiving anticoagulation, as part of a new NHS programme.

The £9 million scheme, which will see GP practice lists examined for atrial fibrillation patients not receiving recommended medication, is being rolled out across 23 CCGs.

NHS Digital figures suggest there are 147,000 people with atrial fibrillation at high risk of stroke who are not treated with anticoagulation.

The demonstrator project, which runs until March next year, is aiming to identify 20,000 of them.

It follows a pilot project in two CCGs in south London that, over the course of a year, reviewed 1,500 patients in 92 practices where 947 patients were found not to be receiving anticoagulation.

NHS England said since then there had been a 25% reduction in atrial fibrillation related strokes in those two CCGs.

Under the programme, personalised treatment plans will be agreed between the nurses and pharmacists carrying out the scheme, and the patient’s GP in ‘virtual clinics’.

The 23 CCGs taking part were selected on the basis of deprivation levels and QOF achievement for atrial fibrillation.

NHS England said the programme was part of the NHS long-term plan goal to prevent over 150,000 heart attacks, strokes and dementia cases over the next 10 years.

NHS medical director, Professor Stephen Powis, said: ‘By targeting help at those people most at risk of illness, and training up specialist clinicians, the NHS in England will help families across the country avoid the pain and loss associated with stroke.’