Colleagues from across Surrey Heartlands came together on 13 November for an Academy Connection event showcasing Quality Improvement within Cardiovascular Disease (CVD).

Mark Hamilton, Executive Clinical Director for the Academy, opened the day and gave an update on Quality Improvement across Surrey Heartlands and the progress made within the last 12 months.

“On the overall journey, 20% of quality improvement is methodologies. The remaining 80% is culture change. Getting the culture right is what matters,” he said.

He also spoke of how the Surrey Improvers Network is connecting organisational improvement teams. This network is sharing improvement skills, knowledge and expertise across the health and social care system and maximising the diversity of improvement approaches.

  • Jane Williams, Programme Director for Planned Care in Surrey Heartlands, updated on CVD within the NHS Long Term Plan. CVD causes 25% of all deaths in the UK and Jane outlined plans to reduce this within our area with initiatives including:

    – Improving the effectiveness of approaches such as the NHS Health Check
    – Supporting those with heart failure and heart valve disease through increased access to testing in primary care
    – Increasing access to cardiac rehabilitation
    – Improving community first response
    – Expanding access to genetic tests for familial hypercholesterolemia.

She also spoke of Prevention programmes, ICP models and outlined the next steps.

  • Increasing the detection of patients with undiagnosed hypertension and atrial fibrillation (AF) is the aim of the BP+ Programme, and Jason Ralphs, Public Health Lead, talked through the approach. The BP+ Programme was developed following co-design across the system. It takes just 10-15 minutes for a blood pressure and pulse check, followed by an AliveCor check for anyone with an irregular pulse. More than 2,400 BP+ checks have taken place so far in 20 pharmacies and workplaces, and it is estimated that two strokes have been prevented.

“There are huge numbers of people within Surrey Heartlands with undiagnosed AF and hypertension,” said Jason. “That’s why we launched this programme and worked with pharmacies in strategic locations, along with workplaces and volunteer groups.” For more on the BP+ checks, watch this patient story:

  • Rich Stockley, Surrey Heartlands Head of Research and Engagement, spoke of the Citizen Engagement work he had overseen, where citizen and workforce engagement was used to co-design cardiology services. This included consulting the Citizens Panel of 3,000 residents to understand the population’s attitudes towards accessing a diagnostic type check like BP+ in a community setting, and carrying out qualitative interviews with patients and clinicians to better understand the ‘lived experience’ of various CVD pathways and then mapping out the patients’ journey and issues.
  • Alison Warren, Consultant Pharmacist from Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, spoke of the Kent Surrey and Sussex Heart Failure Collaborative’s approach to quality improvement, highlighting some recent projects. She shared their key learnings, which were:

    – The importance of developing projects through collaborative working
    – Good planning and talking to stakeholders is key
    – Data collection is essential to demonstrate what works well.

  • Aalia Khan, GP and Ambassador for the CVD Workstream, and Sreya Pokkali, Research and Engagement Officer, updated on the Surrey Heartlands Multi-Professional Reference Panel and Ambassadors Programme and how the focus of these was to reduce clinical variation by connecting workers across the system to each other and to different areas of work. Delegates were invited to join the CVD Reference Panel at
  • The final speaker was Ian Meldrum. QI Practice Developer at Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust, who spoke of how QI has been used in cardiology. A five-day Rapid Improvement Event provided a valuable insight into how the team could improve cardiology services and provide a better patient experience. “It was about building trust and relationships,” said Ian.