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New Healthy Hearts programme seeks to tackle the region’s biggest killer

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Bradford district and Craven are coming together with other CCGs and healthcare providers across the region this April to tackle the area’s biggest killer.

The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Healthy Hearts programme – which builds on the success of the award-winning Bradford’s Healthy Hearts – aims to help reduce the impact of heart disease and prevent the number of heart-related illnesses, including heart attacks, stroke and diabetes.

The programme, created by the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health Care Partnership, aims to reduce the number of people affected by heart disease by 10% by 2021, meaning 1,100 fewer cardiovascular disease (CVD) incidents by 2021.

(1) Stop the region's biggest killer

Dr Youssef Beaini, who is clinical lead for the West Yorkshire and Harrogate programme and a GP in Bradford, said: “Building on the success of Bradford’s Healthy Hearts, we’re delivering the programme in three phases. Phase one sees us working to help local GPs identify patients with undiagnosed high blood pressure (hypertension), and we estimate there may be up to 18,000 across the region, which can often be an indicator of cardiovascular disease. By equipping local GPs with new coding, which allows them to search their own patient databases more effectively, along with the latest advice and guidance on the most effective treatments, we’ll be able to reduce the number of local people suffering heart attacks and strokes. We also estimate that there’s a group of nearly 40,000 patients across the region, who’ve already been diagnosed with hypertension, that will benefit from simple improvements to their existing medication. In fact, we believe that phase one alone will prevent 285 heart attacks and 421 strokes across West Yorkshire and Harrogate, saving the NHS £8m.”

The positive outcomes from Bradford’s Healthy Hearts, established four years ago by NHS Bradford Districts CCG, include the reduction of unplanned admissions to hospital for stroke and heart attack by 10%.

Dr Graeme Summers, clinical lead for cardiovascular disease at Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven CCG, said: “By working together all the partners in the Healthy Hearts programme will benefit from shared learning and economies of scale. But it’s also important that people realise there’s a lot people can do to reduce the risk factors that lead to cardiovascular disease, such as being overweight, smoking, drinking and having an unhealthy diet. It’s never too late to start looking after your heart and we’re working with the Healthy Hearts Programme to help patients make the kinds of lifestyle changes needed to stay healthy.” 

Phase one of Healthy Hearts is set to go live on 1 April. Phase two, due to begin in autumn of 2019, will see an emphasis on cholesterol management and phase three, set to begin in 2020, will see a concentration on blood glucose (glycaemic) control in diabetes.

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