Researchers from King’s College London have joined up with specialist teams at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College Hospital to launch an integrated heart failure (HF) service, to provide improved community care in Southwark and Lambeth.
Figures show that less than 3,000 heart failure patients are known to services, despite an estimated prevalence of 9,000 in Southwark and Lambeth. Approximately 70% of local patients have three other related conditions and about 30% of patients have depression or anxiety. Admissions for heart failure also make-up about 2% of the NHS budget.
This scheme looks to establish early and accurate diagnosis of heart failure, ensure equal access to specialist care, provide good long-term management of the condition and patient centred holistic care. The team believes this will then help to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions.
Launched in September last year, the scheme introduced five dedicated local multidisciplinary teams for each of the Local Care Networks in Southwark and Lambeth. These locality teams provide specialist support to primary care clinicians and other services, including clear, easy to use pathway aids for the diagnosis and management of heart failure, simple medication prescribing algorithms (which have been adopted across South London) and a comprehensive education and training pack for generalists as well as patients.
The service has also begun working with colleagues from South London and Maudsley to ensure that mental health needs are addressed for all patients, and with the Integrated Respiratory team to provide integrated pathways for breathless patients.
The integrated heart failure service forms part of wider research undertaken by King’s Health Partners Cardiovascular Clinical Academic Group.