Professor Gary Ford Chair of the AHSN Network and Chief Executive of Oxford AHSN

The AHSN Network has an extensive history in working to tackle the major cardiovascular risk conditions that if untreated can lead to heart attacks, strokes and other adverse cardiovascular events.

Since 2015, all 15 AHSNs have supported work on the detection and anticoagulation of atrial fibrillation (AF) leading to the avoidance of over 11,000 strokes.

Subsequently we have coordinated work improving lipid lowering management and improving the detection of familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). People are now receiving more intensive cholesterol lowering therapy including innovative drugs in some cases, to reduce their risk of developing heart attacks or stroke.

However, the pandemic had an adverse impact on the detection and management of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors including hypertension. In June 2022, nearly 2 million fewer people with hypertension were recorded as being treated to target compared with the previous year (Quality and Outcomes Framework 20/21). This is why NHS England commissioned the AHSN Network to deliver this new national Blood Pressure Optimisation (BPO) programme building on our CVD portfolio of work to tackle this pressing health need.

It demonstrates our collective impact in delivering on our ambition to transform as many lives as possible through the rapid uptake of high value innovations. I extend my congratulations and thanks to all my colleagues from across the Network for their unwavering commitment to ensuring more patients benefit faster from innovation and service improvements that we support the health system to adopt.

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