The programme

Yorkshire and Humber AHSN is leading, nationally and regionally, the transformation of how the prevention of Atrial Fibrillation (AF) related stroke is achieved. By scaling up and spreading AF related stroke prevention strategies across the region and the country we will see care improved at pace and scale.


Many strokes associated with AF can be avoided. It is estimated that around 25,000 patients with AF in the Yorkshire and Humber region are not receiving optimal therapy to protect them from strokes.
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. This would be £10m for Yorkshire and Humber. Reducing the NHS deficit, avoiding unplanned care and mortality are key components of the Five Year Forward View.

How are we helping?

Nationally we have established the AHSN network AF community of practice. We are supporting the community to enable each AHSN to go further and faster in their endeavours to reduce the number of avoidable AF related stroke. We will achieve this by identifying the synergies between AHSN AF projects and exploiting these to achieve spread and adoption of improvements in care.
Across Yorkshire and Humber we are capitalising on exemplars of effectiveness such as the West Yorkshire Healthy Futures Stroke Programme, West of England AHSN’s “Don’t wait to anticoagulate” programme and the locally produced Community Pharmacy AF consultation resource to bring about the improvements in care. We have built a programme that has the flexibility to build in the innovations in AF developed by AHSNs across the country. Examples of which can be found here.
As we build this programme of work we are sharing and facilitating stroke prevention strategies in other AHSNs through:

  • Highlighting unwarranted variation and care and using data and infographics to share best practice
  • Developing collaboration as a platform for clinicians to communicate
  • Implementing Quality Improvement methodologies
  • Identifying and using innovative diagnostic devices and reviewing pathways

The Expected Impact

  • Managing AF improves the quality of life of patients, preventing debilitating strokes and vascular dementia
  • The AF programme will reduce demand on urgent care and stroke services, shifting capacity to planned care and primary care; this reduces the NHS deficit
  • The quality improvement and behaviour change methodologies in the AF programme will embed capability and capacity in primary care to ensure the sustainability of general practice.

Next Steps

  • We are recruiting CCGs from across Yorkshire & Humber to take part in our innovative programme of stroke prevention. More details can be found in this presentation.