Home » Supporting the NHS » How innovative collaboration is accelerating important change in the NHS

Dr Tony Patrikios

Executive Medical Director, Amgen UK & Ireland

This year, as the world adapted to the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing was clear at every step: the incredible role the NHS plays in society.

Innovative collaboration between the NHS, academia, and industry will enable the health system to navigate acute challenges like COVID-19, but also to support delivery of its Long Term Plan,1 a vision for continuous development so the NHS remains fit for purpose, even as the health needs of society change.

Tackling a silent risk: cardiovascular disease

Heart and circulatory disease, also known as cardiovascular disease (CVD), is one of six priority health conditions in the NHS Long Term Plan and singled out as the biggest area where lives can be saved over the next 10 years.1

With roughly 30% of all coronavirus hospitalisations being in individuals with CVD,3 now is the time to focus on developing and introducing innovative solutions that reduce risk and improve health outcomes for this vulnerable group of patients.

Alongside atrial fibrillation and blood pressure, cholesterol is a major risk factor for CVD, yet it is often overlooked in assessment and treatment.4 If we are to help predict and prevent illnesses before they occur – and achieve the aim of the NHS Long Term Plan to reduce CVD events by 150,000 over the next 10 years – all three risk factors need to be addressed.

Amgen is partnering with NHS organisations to help tackle the ‘silent killer’ of high cholesterol through our Control Cholesterol programme – a two-year partnership running in areas that are heavily impacted by heart attacks, strokes, and premature deaths due to cardiovascular disease.

The COVID-19 pandemic has acted as a catalyst for accelerating change, with the NHS rapidly adopting new ways to treat patients and keep people healthy. Control Cholesterol is an opportunity to harness this innovation and provide patient-centred care in ways that move more services out of hospital and closer to patients.

With the patient at the heart of everything we do, Amgen focuses on creating innovative solutions to tackle some of society’s biggest health challenges. We are committed to the NHS, collaborating to create solutions which demonstrate meaningful change. We are currently working with the NHS across six regions in England5 covering over 20 million people – a third of England’s population6 – to help reduce the risk of heart attacks or stroke for people with cardiovascular disease.

Control Cholesterol

Amgen is partnering with Imperial College Health Partners (ICHP) to develop a High Impact Intervention Tool (HIIT) which aims to quantify the current care gaps in terms of detection, treatment and management of patients with high cholesterol levels. The gaps in care can be addressed using different high impact interventions, such as lifestyle interventions, reviewing lipid levels and statin prescription doses, etc. The HIIT will use predictive modelling to establish the impact of addressing these gaps on reduction of CVD events and costs.

The tool complements NHS England’s CVDPREVENT, a national primary care audit of GP data which will enable GP practices and primary care networks to understand how many patients with cardiovascular disease are potentially undiagnosed or not treated optimally.

ICHP are world-leaders in harnessing the power of data to create solutions for health challenges. They have previously developed another high impact intervention tool to optimise outcomes for people with atrial fibrillation; using the power of data to support the NHS in realising the NHS Long Term Plan, the ambition is to create a similarly powerful intervention to improve the lives of people with raised cholesterol.

Date of preparation: December 2020

1 NHS Long Term Plan https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk [accessed November 2020]
2 NHS Long Term Plan https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk [accessed November 2020]
3 Features of 20,133 hospitalised UK patients with COVID-19 using the ISARIC WHO Clinical Characterisation Protocol: Docherty et al, 2020
4 https://www.heartuk.org.uk/downloads/health-professionals/heart-uk-cvd-prevention-policy-paper—july-2019.pdf Last accessed December 2020
5 https://www.amgen.co.uk/en-gb/about/partnerships-and-support/disclosures/joint-working-initiatives/ Last accessed August 2020
6 https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/bulletins/annualmidyearpopulationestimates/mid2019estimates Last accessed December 2020

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