Partnerships between Novartis, patient groups, the NHS, and healthcare professionals have long contributed to better patient care and the progression of research. This commitment to partnership is at the heart of everything we do because we want to see the NHS be a sustainable health service not just for today but also for future generations.
These partnerships often take shape as ‘joint working’, where both the company and the NHS contribute financially and provide skills, knowledge and other resources towards a common goal. By pooling resources, joint working projects bring a collaborative approach to improving healthcare services and, ultimately, improving the standard of patient care.
A key focus of Novartis’ joint working is heart failure, which was identified as a sustainability challenge in the NHS Long Term Plan. In the UK, heart failure is a leading cause of hospital admissions in patients aged over 65 years, equating to 5% of all emergency admissions.1
This challenge for the NHS is on the increase, with hospital admissions due to heart failure projected to rise by 50% over the next 25 years.2 The prevalence of heart failure is rising, partly due to an ageing population and improved survival from other cardiovascular and chronic diseases, thus the costs associated with heart failure will continue to grow, compounding existing pressures on the NHS.3-5
Although heart failure has a poor prognosis, it is treatable and preventable.6 National or local guidelines stipulate which treatments are most appropriate and which healthcare teams to engage. Providing care in line with these guidelines can significantly improve patient outcomes such as survival and quality of life.3
To increase care in line with national or local guidelines in hospital-based heart failure services, joint working projects between Novartis and the NHS provide in-reach nurses. The roles of these in-reach nurses’ are to identify and triage undiagnosed heart failure patients at both acute medical receiving units and non-cardiology departments.
The patients identified are then referred to the relevant cardiology services to receive input from heart failure specialists. The nurses also coordinate the discharge of patients and liaise with community teams, including primary care GP practices, to ensure continuous care for heart failure patients after their discharge from hospital.
Overall, heart failure patients and their carers have an enhanced experience. Through improved referral to appropriate heart failure specialists, patients benefit from improved access to optimal diagnosis and treatment. The quality of care is maintained following discharge, with a discharge plan which engages the wider healthcare team.
By working together to find access solutions, partnerships such as these aim to transform the care given to patients. We share the NHS goal of improving treatment pathways and patient care, and firmly believe that greater collaboration with industry can support the NHS in meeting the healthcare challenges of the 21st century.
See how in-reach nurses are transforming patient care across the UK in our current joint working projects:
1. Cowie M, Anker S, Cleland J, et al. 2014. Improving care for patients with acute heart failure: before, during and after hospitalization. ESC Heart Failure 1(2): 110–45.
2. British Heart Foundation. 2015. An integrated approach to managing heart failure in the community.
3. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. 2018. Chronic heart failure in adults: diagnosis and management. London: NICE.
4. Frankenstein L, Fröhlich H, Cleland J. 2015. Multidisciplinary approach for patients hospitalized with heart failure. Rev Esp Cardiol (Engl ed) 68(10): 885–91.
5. Savarese G, Lund LH. 2017. Global public health burden of heart failure. Card Fail Rev 3(1): 7–11.
6. Ponikowski P, Voors A, Anker S, et al. 2016. 2016 ESC Guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic heart failure: The Task Force for the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic heart failure of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). Eur Heart J 37(27): 2129–200.