How can the NHS improve care for heart failure patients?
The charity British Heart Foundation (BHF) has slammed the NHS for its care of heart failure patients, saying that the positive picture painted by quality and outcomes framework (QOF) reports is not reliable.
BHF-funded research at the University of Oxford examined data on hospital admissions to analyse the care over a year of 93,074 patients with heart failure.
The researchers reported that heart failure is more likely to be diagnosed in hospital than in an outpatient setting. They also found that just 17% of such patients had this diagnosis recorded by their GP, which meant that few of them were followed up in the community and primary care.
Researchers concluded that patients are getting very low doses of heart failure drugs such as ACE-inhibitors, beta-blockers and diuretics. These doses were far below that recommended by guidelines.
The researchers also noted that women are less likely to be diagnosed outside hospital and received fewer investigations during diagnosis. They were given lower doses of drugs compared to the general population and were less likely to get follow-up care.
British Heart Foundation: Hidden failings in UK heart failure care
European Society of Cardiology: Patients’ journey of care following incident heart failure: diagnostic tests, treatments and care pathways in 93,000 patients