The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Healthy Hearts programme has now completed its public engagement on its work to identify and treat - at scale - patients whose LDL cholesterol levels may be better controlled through switching to a high-intensity statin, and also initiating a statin in those patients at risk of developing CVD.
The engagement took place from the beginning of June until mid-July 2019 and more than 200 responses were received, with some completing the online questionnaire and others giving their feedback in focus groups that took place across West Yorkshire and Harrogate.
An analysis of the work was undertaken with results showing:
- 95% of respondents understand the aims of phase two of Healthy Hearts
- 88% of respondents think it will be of benefit to local people
- 80% of respondents thought our draft letter to patients, outlining why changes were being made to their prescriptions, were clear
- nearly a quarter of responses were from black and Asian minority groups
Programme Manager Pete Waddingham said: “We really want to thank all those people who took the time to fill in the questionnaire and all those who came along to our focus groups. A lot of interesting data has been gathered, including valuable information on where patients are most likely to turn to if they had an issue with a prescription for statins, and where they’re most likely to seek advice and guidance on leading a healthier life.
“Some comments revealed that some common misconceptions surrounding statins still endure, while others have provided valuable insights into people’s hopes and expectations for phase two, allowing the programme team to better understand what’s important to them as patients.
“We also want to thank all our communications and engagement colleagues in the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health Care Partnership, and all the CCGs, who’ve been brilliant in their support during this engagement. The findings will be used to shape how the programme communicates with patients and clinicians in phase two of Healthy Hearts, which is due to begin in the autumn.”
West Yorkshire and Harrogate and Harrogate Healthy Hearts is a three-year local NHS project that aims to reduce the number of cardiovascular incidents, such as heart attacks and strokes in our region. We believe this will mean 420 heart attacks and 620 strokes will be prevented, saving the local NHS £12m. In phase 2 of our programme, the focus is on cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance, also know as lipids, that's mainly created by our own livers, though it's also found in some of the foods we eat, and it's vital for maintaining a healthy body. Simply put there are two types of cholesterol - good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, or HDL) - and bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL). If the level of bad cholesterol in your blood is too high it can increase the risk of heart disease, including heart attack or stroke. You can find out more cholesterol here.
What we're doing
To try to prevent that from happening GPs will very often prescribe statins for patients who have high levels of bad cholesterol or who are at risk of a future heart attack or stroke. Statins are a group of medicines that can help lower the level of bad cholesterol by reducing the amount produced by the liver. Evidence has shown that overall some statins have proven to be more effective than others, especially when taken at certain levels.
In phase two of the Healthy Hearts initiative, we are equipping local GPs with new coding, which allows them to search their own patient records more effectively, helping them to discover patients who have high levels of bad cholesterol. Alongside this GPs will consider other aspects of their patient's health to determine their risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next ten years.
After consulting with senior doctors across the region we are recommending that local GPs make some simple improvements to the medications prescribed to some of their patients. For some patients, this might mean that they are prescribed a statin for the first time, while others who are already on a statin may be switched to a more effective one and may also have the dosage changed. GPs will write out to patients to let them know about the changes before they take place.
In addition to this, we are also providing local GP practices and patients with comprehensive advice and guidance on living a healthier life along with information on where to find local advice and support.
Angela's story - "prevention is better than cure"
Angela's NHS Health Check revealed she had high levels of bad cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and the narrowing of the arteries.
But changes to your diet, your lifestyle and your weight can cut cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of long-term complications. Angela made those changes, and so can you.