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11 June 2021

The Royal Liverpool University Hospital cardiology and respiratory teams, which will benefit from the projects

Three Liverpool project bids backed by the Innovation Agency have won funding to help integrate innovative health products into everyday practice.

They have been selected to receive Pathway Transformation Funding through the NHS Rapid Uptake Products programme.

Funding of more than £300,000 over the next 12 months will be awarded to Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and five primary care networks in Merseyside to improve the care of people with high cholesterol and those with asthma.

It is part of the Rapid Uptake Products programme delivered by NHS England and Improvement and the Accelerated Access Collaborative, in collaboration with the AHSN Network.

The bids were backed by the Innovation Agency, the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) for the North West Coast, whose team will provide project management support for integrating the products into care pathways.

The products are lipid management, a NICE-approved clinical pathway to help reduce cholesterol; FeNO testing, which aids diagnosis of asthma; and asthma biologics, a treatment for severe asthma.

Innovation Agency Chief Executive Dr Phil Jennings said:

“We are delighted to be part of these life-saving programmes of work which will target asthma and high cholesterol, both of which have a big impact on health in our region.”

The funding will cover dedicated staff working in pharmacies, GP practices and visiting the homes of asthma patients.

Clinical lead for the Liverpool asthma programmes, Dr Hassan Burhan, a respiratory consultant at Liverpool University Hospitals, said: “I am really excited that we are able to address this high-risk condition in Liverpool. We know that deaths from respiratory disease in our area are 42 per cent higher than the national average.

“There are a lot of people who will benefit from new ways of working which will help reduce severe asthma and avoid the side effects of repeated use of steroids.”

The lipids programme is focussed on the management of cholesterol by the improved use of medicines, involving pharmacists in both secondary and primary care.  This will involve clinics, education and training and is supported by cardiology consultants.

Alice Foster, Advanced clinical pharmacist in cardiology at Liverpool University Hospitals, said: “It’s exciting to have the opportunity to develop a service where clinical pharmacists will review and prescribe medicines for people who are at higher risk of having a heart attack because of raised cholesterol levels. 

“There are about 15,000 people in Liverpool who have known cardiovascular disease with insufficient cholesterol management.  Reducing this number would have a significant impact on the future health of this population and could ensure a better quality of life for longer.”

The funding will help overcome practical obstacles to introducing the products, for example:

  • supporting set-up costs such as training and accreditation of staff
  • pathway redesign and/or business support expertise
  • providing funding for specialist nurses and clinical staff needed to implement a new part of the procedure; and
  • covering double running costs while changes are put in place.

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