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NELFT NHS Foundation Trust provides a range of  community health and mental health services across the north east London Boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge and Waltham Forest, Essex and Kent and Medway

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NELFT and North East London Local Pharmaceutical Committee have won an award

NELFT and North East London Local Pharmaceutical Committee have been announced as one of the ‘AF Association Healthcare Pioneers 2018 – Showcasing Best Practice in AF’ winners.

The award was for the project: Health Foundation Quality Improvement Improving Physical Health Care for patients with psychosis (PHCP) through collaborative working with local community pharmacies.

AF or atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia (heart rhythm disorder) affecting more than 16 million people around the world. Every 15 seconds someone suffers an AF-related stroke, yet most can be prevented using appropriate anticoagulation therapy.

As a UK registered charity (non-profit), AF Association focuses on raising awareness of AF by providing information and support materials for patients and medical professionals involved in detecting, diagnosing and managing AF.

Dr Aarohee Desai-Gupta, Interim Associate Medical Director (Barking & Dagenham and Clinical Lead for Project), NELFT and Dr Asif Bachlani, Consultant Psychiatrist (Project Founder) commented: “This project is a great example of secondary care and community services working collaboratively and across boundaries to enable people with psychosis to access health checks via the community pharmacy network.

“It is well recognised by research that patients with psychosis die 15-20 years earlier than the general population (Schizophrenia commission) due to cardiovascular disease. By working collaboratively with the clinically trained community pharmacies and the local community mental health team this enables patients to access health checks close to their home.

“In a time with increased pressure and limited capacity within secondary mental health care services, working with community pharmacy adds vitally important high-quality clinical capacity in a patient and carer friendly environment close to their home. Participating community pharmacies in Barking and Dagenham are supporting this often marginalised patient group who have poor health outcomes by providing essential care near their homes.

“More than 100 psychosis patients have benefitted so far from the project. The Medicines we prescribed to treat psychosis often lead to weight gain and atrial fibrillation and so there is a need to improve monitoring and treatment of these cardiometabolic disorders to improve the morbidity and mortality of people with psychosis

“This new partnership between the patient, care co-ordinator, community pharmacist and the Consultant Psychiatrist enabling health checks and supporting self-management via personalised care plans and coaching in community pharmacies is leading to better health outcomes and faster recovery time.”

Hemant Patel, Secretary of North-East London Local Pharmaceutical Committee said: “The benefits of using community pharmacists clinical skills and capacity are obvious at a time of GP shortages and work overloads in surgeries. More doctors are not always the answer when competent and qualified clinical workforce on high streets can help the vulnerable groups gain quick local access to much needed care near their homes.

“Every commissioner should be looking to put patient interest ahead of anything else and break down silos of care provision in communities. Failure to innovate and preserve traditional boundaries risks patients suffering needlessly at a time when community pharmacies can offer benefits including cost-savings, advantages over existing models and high degree of patient satisfaction.

“NELFT has a great track record for innovation and we are grateful to the Trust for their vision and support as well as to the Health Foundation for the support granted for this project. Community pharmacies have a great potential to become clinics on the high streets and support self care and are thus indispensable part of the struggling NHS.”

Trudie Lobban MBE, Founder and CEO of AF Association congratulated the 2018 Award winners stating: “AF Association Healthcare Pioneers Award, is presented to examples of truly innovative best practice covering identification, diagnosis, management, treatment and care of patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), which we summarise as Detect, Protect, Correct and Perfect.

“Now in its third year, we had the highest number of entries to date, and all were of an excellent standard, demonstrating tremendous innovation to improve the lives of AF patients. We thank everyone who entered, and especially commend those chosen as this year’s AF Association Healthcare Pioneers Award winners.”

Pictured at a demostration of the PHCP project earlier in the year are (L-R) Heather O’Connell (RGN - NELFT), Moira Hollick (Support Worker - NELFT), Esther Peinado (Project Liaison Officer - NEL LPC), Dr Justin Earl (Springfield Consultancy, on behalf on the Health Foundation) and Dr Asif Bachlani (Project Lead).