Partnership initiative helps save more lives across West Yorkshire and Harrogate

140 over 90 blood pressureIn the UK, high blood pressure is the third biggest risk factor for disease after tobacco, smoking and poor diet. Not many people know that high blood pressure, or hypertension, rarely has noticeable symptoms. If untreated, it increases the risk of people developing serious health problems such as heart attacks and strokes.

An initiative commissioned by West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership and delivered by Yorkshire & Humber AHSN is supporting GP practices and healthcare professionals to reduce the incidents of cardiovascular disease across the area.

West Yorkshire and Harrogate Healthy Hearts is a three-year project that aims to reduce the number of people affected by heart disease including strokes and heart attacks across West Yorkshire and Harrogate by 10% by 2021, meaning 1,100 fewer cardiovascular disease incidents. It focuses on three specific risk factors including blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.

In West Yorkshire and Harrogate alone, more than 600,000* people are affected by high blood pressure (hypertension) – a leading cause of heart disease and stroke - whilst over 60,000 people have an irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation) and more than 49,000 people have experienced a stroke or mini-stroke (TIA).

Doctors across the area are supporting this initiative to ensure people with high blood pressure receive the care they need. The first phase of the project aims to identify people who may have high blood pressure who are not yet diagnosed, and those who need to better control their hypertension to a safe target below 140/90.

The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Healthy Hearts project is starting to show very encouraging results with more than 7,500 new people added to the hypertension register since Jan 2019. This means people will be more closely monitored.

There has also been an increase in the number of people, nearly 8,000, who now have their hypertension better controlled to safe limits. Importantly this could help prevent 65 deaths, 122 strokes and 82 heart attacks over the next five years.

Rob Webster, Lead Chief Executive for West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership said:

"I’m delighted by the results so far. It shows that building on good practice, and working together across the area really does save more people’s lives. The engagement from all involved has been fantastic. It is a true reflection of what can be achieved when partners work together to put people, not organisations, at the heart of all we do."

Dr Youssef Beaini, a GP and Clinical Lead for the initiative said:

"We are working with doctors and local NHS organisations across the region to help reduce the number of heart attacks and strokes. We are focusing on identifying people with undiagnosed high blood pressure and provide GPs with the latest advice and guidance on the most effective treatments. There are nearly 40,000 patients across the region who’ve already been diagnosed with hypertension, that will benefit from simple improvements to their existing medication.  We are really encouraged by the results we are seeing and that is all down to the hard work of GPs and nurses on the front line."

Jenny Hamer, CVD lead at Yorkshire and Humber AHSN, added:

"Working closely with the local NHS Commissioning Groups, Public Health England, community pharmacists and community groups is helping us to increase the opportunities to better support patients with a high risk of cardiovascular disease. It’s important people understand that it is never too late to look after their heart and there are lots of things people can do to prevent heart disease including leading healthier lives by eating more fruit and vegetables, drinking less alcohol, stopping smoking and starting exercising more."

For more information about the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Healthy Hearts initiative please visit www.westyorkshireandharrogatehealthyhearts.co.uk.

Notes

Data sources:

1. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-matters-combating-high-blood-pressure/health-matters-combating-high-blood-pressure

2. *Exact figure 616,636, taken from 'Hypertension prevalence estimates, 2017 – National Cardiovascular Intelligence Network' and published in British Heart Foundation packs – Blood pressure: How can we do better?

West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health & Care Partnership is hosted by NHS Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group.
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