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Thursday 20th June 2019

East London heart disease initiative shortlisted for NICE award

9th May 2011

An east London health initiative that has helped prevent 37 heart attacks and deaths in the area in the last year has been shortlisted for a prestigious NICE award.

Using guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), the local project encouraged doctors across the boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Newham and Hackney to prescribe anti-cholesterol drugs called statins to their patients who were already known to have angina or to those who had previously had a heart attack. This was to reduce the risks of them suffering from further heart attacks or strokes later in life.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a particular problem in east London, where more people suffer from the condition than anywhere else in the city.

By helping doctors implement NICE's clinical guideline, statin prescribing to those at risk of a heart attack or stroke increased from 65% in 2004 to 93% in 2010 across Tower Hamlets, Newham and Hackney primary care trusts. The areas now also have some of the best levels of statin prescription in England and Wales at low cost. This is because the project promoted the use of the generic statin, simvastatin - a cheaper alternative to branded products which offers the same clinical benefits. As a result, 4,000 extra people are now on statins and there have been 37 fewer heart attacks or deaths from the condition in the last year.

The project, which was led by the Clinical Effectiveness Group (CEG) at London's Queen Mary University (QMUL), has been shortlisted for a NICE Shared Learning Award, as an example of NICE guidance in practice. The winner will be announced on Tuesday (10 May) at NICE's Annual Conference in Birmingham.

Dr John Robson, a GP in Tower Hamlets, senior lecturer at QMUL and lead of the CEG said: "As east London has the highest rate of heart disease in the capital, it was crucial that health professionals in the area were aware of the best advice and resources on how to lower the blood cholesterol levels of their patients who were most at risk. This included south Asian people and those with unhealthy lifestyles.

"By working with hospital consultants, GPs, prescribing advisors and commissioners, we provided all 150 practices in the area with educational materials and a summary of the NICE recommendations. We also met with practices to determine their individual implementation needs and provided in-house support to those performing less well.

"Tower Hamlets, Newham and Hackney PCTs now have among the highest prescribing rates of statins in England and Wales.

"While improving the health of the local population continues to be our main goal, it is a real honour to be shortlisted for the NICE Shared Learning Award. I hope that this recognition encourages even more healthcare settings across the NHS to take note of NICE guidance and the differences that they can make."

Val Moore, Director of NICE's Implementation Programme said: "Our Shared Learning database receives hundreds of submissions every year, so for this project to be shortlisted for our annual Award is a real achievement.

"I would like to thank the Clinical Effectiveness Group in east London for sharing their success with us. It is a fantastic example of how putting NICE guidance into practice can give clear benefits to patients.

"I hope that this will now inspire others to collaborate in this fashion to deliver healthcare that is based on the best available evidence and through practical approaches tailored to each practice's particular requirements."


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