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New guidance helps healthcare systems get back on track with cardiovascular disease prevention

CVD prevention system level pandemic report coverA practical guide has been produced to help healthcare systems across England overcome disruption to cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention caused by Covid-19.

Rates of stroke, heart disease and vascular dementia are closely linked to health inequalities and these have widened during the pandemic. Lockdowns and other government restrictions are likely to have exacerbated unhealthy behaviours and patients are likely to have had less contact with healthcare professionals, leading to lower detection rates for CVD risk factors such as hypertension and atrial fibrillation.

Many CVD risk factors are picked up through standard face-to-face primary care appointments, and these have been significantly reduced during the pandemic. NHS Health Checks were also paused for several months. In addition, fewer patients presented with heart attack and stroke during the early phase of the pandemic, which suggests that some cardiovascular issues went unreported and people did not access care, including advice on preventing future health problems.

Now a broad alliance has come together to produce a package of tools to help reverse this trend through a whole system approach.

The practical guidance includes best practice case studies from across England. It is aimed at those within integrated care systems who are responsible for planning or delivering CVD prevention programmes .

It has been produced in a collaboration between the Oxford Academic Health Science Network (Oxford AHSN), the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme and the Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH).

The authors are planning a webinar to further share good practice and ideas, spread innovation and reduce variation.

This is the latest in a series of guides produced by the Oxford AHSN and GIRFT during the pandemic. Previous guidance covered:

Read more in this news story (from 24 March 2021)