Local GPs have vowed to carry-on the good work helping patients with heart disease or a stroke live longer in Oxfordshire.

A report revealed that the number of people in the county dying early from cardiovascular disease like a stroke or heart failure was below the national average in 2011/12. It also showed:

  • Oxfordshire had fewer number of emergency hospital admissions for patients with stroke and heart disease compared to the national rate;
  • more stroke patients in Oxfordshire aged under 75 were discharged directly home after hospital treatment compared to the national average;
  • the average wait time for a patient to get treatment in Oxfordshire following a heart attack was better than the England figure.

Dr Richard Green, Director of Clinical Quality at Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG), said:

‘The report reflects the hard work carried out in the NHS to improve services in Oxfordshire for people with cardiovascular conditions like heart disease or a stroke – helping them to live longer. Our priority is to build-on this good work and reduce further the risk of early death from cardiovascular illness in Oxfordshire.’

Some of the measures the OCCG has supported to help cardiovascular patients include:

  • allowing GPs to carry out blood protein and cardio-echo tests to reveal heart failure rather than having patients travel to acute hospitals;

 

  • getting patients with heart failure into rapid access chest clinics for appropriate assessment and treatment which means their survival rates are improved;

 

  • allowing patients to recover from heart failure closer to their homes by locating rehabilitation services provided by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust in local areas saving them travelling to and from hospital;

 

  • using a heart failure specialist nurse provided by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust to support patients across the county;

 

  • launching rapid access TIAs (mini-strokes) clinics open seven days a week – one is located at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, which takes referrals from GPs and the emergency department.

Dr Richard Green, added: ‘The OCCG will encourage more innovative ways of commissioning health care in Oxfordshire which will help tackle conditions like cardiovascular disease. However, stopping smoking, eating healthier food and exercising more often also reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke.’