4 June 2019


Our work to prevent strokes in the North West Coast has been shortlisted for the Patient Safety Awards 2019.

The Innovation Agency’s North West Coast Atrial Fibrillation (AF) Collaborative is one of 11 projects competing for the Quality Improvement Initiative of the Year award which will be presented at the end of day one of HSJ Patient Safety Congress in Manchester on 2 July.

The AF Collaborative was set up as part of our programme to help tackle atrial fibrillation and reduce strokes in the North West Coast.

AF is an irregular pulse which increases a person’s risk of stroke five-fold. Plus, AF-related strokes are often severe, causing serious disability or even death.

In the North West Coast there are an estimated 15,429 people with undiagnosed AF and 13,120 patients diagnosed with high risk AF who are not treated with anticoagulation therapy which can reduce strokes by two-thirds.

From 2016-2018, our AF Collaborative led a Quality Improvement (QI) initiative to support 68 GP practices in Blackburn with Darwen, East Lancashire, Wirral and Warrington to find those unidentified people with AF.

Practice implementation teams were provided with mobile ECG devices to test pulses and identify new AF patients and a Quality Improvement toolkit, to help them improve management and treatment of AF patients alongside a package of support and training.

The project resulted in 808 people being added to AF registers and 1,066 patients starting on anticoagulation therapy which could save 160 strokes over five years.

As well as improving treatment for patients and reducing their stroke risk, the Collaborative had a significant financial impact. Each stroke costs health and care services around £45,409 in the first 12 months alone so anticoagulating patients could save up to £15,194,400 by 2023.

Julia Reynolds, Associate Director and Head of Programmes at the Innovation Agency, said: “We are delighted that we have been shortlisted for this award, which is a testament to the hard work of the AF QI team and the GP practice teams with whom we were working. We are already seeing benefits in terms of a reduction in strokes.

“We have now secured funding for AF Collaborative 2 and are working with a further 50 GP practices, as well as streamlining our QI approach and refining the AF QI Toolkit outlining steps a practice can take to improve identifying, diagnosing and managing AF.”

Dr Quincy Chuka at Holes Lane Medical Centre in Warrington said: “This is a high impact, sustainable, evidence-based project with improvement of care of patients with AF at its core. It is about getting the basics right, empowering primary care and translating effectiveness of quality improvement to patients’ care.”

*This project was funded through a Joint Working Agreement with Bayer and also supported with Medical Education Grants from Pfizer and Diiachi Sankyo.


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