Heart attacks, strokes and other forms of cardiovascular disease (CVD) cause a quarter of all deaths in the UK. CVD is also a leading cause of morbidity and costs the NHS an estimated £9 billion a year and economy around £19 billion annually. And, as a major driver of health inequalities, it accounts for a quarter of the life expectancy gap between deprived and affluent communities.
Hypertension and high cholesterol are leading risk factors for CVD and are highly modifiable, with treatment substantially lowering the risk of CVD.
Despite this, both are underdiagnosed and undertreated. For example, around 30% of people with hypertension are unaware they have it and, of those who have been diagnosed with hypertension, around a third are not treated to target.
The AHSN Network is launching a national blood pressure optimisation programme which aims to transform the prevention of CVD. The programme, which will run until March 2023, aims to transform the prevention of CVD by optimising the clinical care and self-management of people with hypertension.
Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) will support primary care networks (PCNs) in implementing the UCLPartners Proactive Care Framework for hypertension, part of the NHS Proactive Care @home programme. This will support primary care staff to optimise clinical care and self-management of people with hypertension through:
- Risk stratification to prioritise which patients to see first;
- Use of the wider workforce to support remote care and self-care;
- Adapting framework pathways for local implementation;
- Supporting patients to maximise the benefits of remote monitoring and virtual consultations where appropriate.
AHSNs will also support PCNs in identifying more patients with hypertension through case finding interventions and support Integrated Care Systems in reducing health inequalities by targeting 20% of the most deprived populations and other local priority groups.