A pioneering project of joint working between the pharmaceutical industry and the National Health Service which aims to identify and help people at risk of cardiovascular disease in one of the UK’s most deprived areas is showing early signs of success.

The Happy Hearts Project is a partnership set up between six pharmaceutical companies and Nottingham City Primary Care Trust last December, with the aim of reducing CVD risk and associated premature mortality through primary care identification and management of people in the City who are more than a 20% risk of developing diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Nottingham City is the seventh most deprived local authority area in the country, and people there are at an associated high risk of CVD.
The project is facilitated by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry Outreach Programme, whose regional facilitator for the project, Jan Balmer, told PharmaTimes News Online this week of the initiative’s achievements so far.

“Within only eight weeks (February and March) and with only 10 of the 13 participating Happy Hearts GP practices actively seeing patients, the project has already conducted full CVD risk assessments and lifestyle reviews with 260 patients,” said Ms Balmer.

During that time, the 13 Clinical Healthcare Assistants who have been specially funded and trained for the initiative have identified:-

63% of high-risk patients who are currently not on a statin - 21% of whom have now been prescribed a statin; - 42% of high-risk patients with elevated blood pressure – 25% of whom have already been prescribed medication whilst the others are being monitored; -74% of high-risk patients with elevated cholesterol – 23% of whom have already been prescribed medication whilst the others are being monitored.
Meantime, a further nine high-risk patients have since been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and three individuals have been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (Stage 3).

“With an initial response rate of 65%, (ie people who have responded to the invitation from the surgery to attend a health assessment with the CHCA) the Happy Hearts project looks set to be very successful,” said Ms Balmer.

The companies involved in the Happy Hearts programme are: Sanofi-Aventis, Novartis, Solvay Healthcare, Schering-Plough, Merck Serono and Merck Sharp & Dohme. The initiative is one of the examples of Good Practice included in Moving Beyond Sponsorship, the interactive toolkit for joint NHS/industry working which was published by the Department of Health and the ABPI in March and was the subject of a recent PharmaTimes conference. For more on NHS/industry partnering, look out for the next issue of PharmaTimes Magazine.