A patient diagnosed with heart failure can have a worse prognosis than if they were diagnosed with most cancers, including breast and prostate.Treatment by a specialist heart failure service and the use of modern therapies can have a remarkable impact on a patient’s chance of survival.This strategy is endorsed by NICE guidelines and quality standards.Despite this, access to heart failure specialists and the impressive services they are able to provide, is inconsistent across the UK leading to significant variation in care and outcomes.
Rt Hon Alan Johnson MP gave his support and joined Professor Andrew Clark, Chair of Clinical Cardiology and Honorary Consultant Cardiologist at Castle Hill Hospital, for the Heart Failure Awareness Reception in the House of Commons. The British Society for Heart Failure, for which Professor Clark is the current Chair, organised the event to raise awareness of heart failure and, the burden it places on NHS resources and the impact it has on people’s lives.
The Rt. Hon Alan Johnson MP today signed a pledge to continue supporting the excellent specialist heart failure service available to patients in Hull. Despite clear national policies on the management of chronic heart failure, including a NICE guideline1 and Quality Standard, heart failure patient care is currently inconsistent across the UK and many areas do not have a specialist heart failure service.This has resulted in significant variations in survival and hospital admissions across the country with many patients not receiving specialist input to their care or optimal drug management.
Alan Johnson said “I am very proud of the excellent specialist heart failure service we have in this area and I will work hard to ensure that this service continues to be supported in the future. We are very fortunate to have Professor Clark leading the heart failure services in our area, ensuring that patients have access to the best care possible”
With heart failure rates due to rise over the next 20 years, the burden on NHS resources could become unmanageable unless all hospitals across the country follow the recommended national guidelines.
Professor Andrew Clark, Chair of the British Society for Heart Failure and Chair of Clinical Cardiology and Hononary Consultant Cardiologist at Castle Hill Hospital, said “Giving heart failure patients access to a specialist heart failure service not only results in less time spent in hospital and a better quality of life for the patient but it also saves the NHS money.”
The TV Doctor, Dawn Harper, added “If a breast cancer patient was discharged from hospital and not left in the care of an outpatient oncology team it would be seen as a national disgrace, yet many heart failure patients do not have access to a specialist team when they are discharged, despite the fact that they face a worse prognosis than a breast cancer patient.”
The British Society for Heart Failure, the UK’s professional organisation dedicated to optimising the care of heart failure patients, believes that access to a specialist heart failure service for all patients would lead to better patient outcomes and a more efficient use of NHS resources. There is strong evidence that having an effective multidisciplinary specialist service for people with chronic heart failure can give patients a better chance of survival, reduce the pressure on hospital beds and costly acute admissions, help to reduce recurrent hospital stays by 30-50%, improve patients’ quality of life and keep younger patients in employment.