Home » Cardiology » We all have a responsibility for looking after our heart health

Jessamy Baird

General Manager, General Medicines BU
Country Lead, Sanofi UK & Ireland

Guy Parker

Head of Cardiovascular & Established Products Franchise
General Medicines BU, Sanofi UK

The NHS has set ambitious goals through its Long-Term Plan to improve cardiovascular health in the UK. Industry is on hand to assist with the implementation of these goals.

Cardiovascular health, like so many areas of care, has felt the impact of the NHS COVID-19 pandemic response. Factors such as a lack of face-to-face patient contact with a GP, backlog in preventative health services, lack of access to NHS Health Check and problems accessing pathology services have left a relatively large number of people underdiagnosed, says Guy Parker, Head of Cardiovascular Franchise, General Medicines at Sanofi UK.

There are currently around 7.6 million people living with cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the UK and an estimation that more than half of us will get a cardiovascular disease in our lifetime.

As one of the UK’s leading causes of premature death, CVD should be a priority area for prevention and treatment believes Parker.

Jessamy Baird, General Manager of Sanofi’s General Medicines sector and Country Lead, UK & Ireland explains: “The aim of early heart disease treatment is not just management – it’s actually about avoiding much more serious events – and that is good for people, their families and the NHS.”

The UK has a great track record in the management of cardiac health, we just don’t want that to change.

Sharing best practice

It is now almost four years that Sanofi has worked with the NHS Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) as part of the Rapid Uptake Products (RUP) Working Group.

This group aims at supporting stronger adoption and spread of proven innovations, one of which is to improve the lipid profile of people with high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease by reducing bad cholesterol concentration in blood with the right medicine for them. As a result, this can have a significant impact on minimising the risk of developing heart diseases and improve the patient outcome.

If patients at high risk of cardiovascular events are optimally managed and routinely monitored, the collaborative approach will be a success.

Baird says: “The focus on early identification and getting people into the right treatment pathway as early as possible is about a more joined up approach across primary and secondary care, as well as raising awareness so that people know their own numbers and take a degree of personal responsibility.”

Among the early wins has been the development of technology to support primary care clinicians to keep track of patients at risk of a cardiovascular event. The reorganisation of the NHS in England is set to expand the size of GP practice lists to between 30,000-50,000 patients.

Baird believes: “The UK has a great track record in the management of cardiac health, we just don’t want that to change. There are so many treatment options available – right through the spectrum of disease severity – that we just want to support the NHS to give people the best care.”

Improving identification and education

Working with The Cholesterol Charity HEART UK, Sanofi has supported its Primary Care Education Programme for healthcare professionals which complements the Tackling Cholesterol Together initiative with the Accelerated Access Collaborative.

The education programme supports the ambition of the NHS Long Term Plan, with the aim to improve the identification and treatment of high-risk conditions in primary care. Led by a team of national clinical leaders and experts in cardiovascular disease (CVD), it supports healthcare professionals to address rates of diagnosis and improve referrals at scale using new models to manage cholesterol, underpinned by an updated NICE endorsed pathway.

Everybody’s responsibility

Parker says: “Everybody has a part to play in reducing risk – the NHS has its part, and as a pharma company, we have a part to play. However, people also have a personal responsibility to understand their numbers and prioritise how they manage their risk.”

MAT-GB-2104234 (V1.0) DOP:Sep 21

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