The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is consulting on a set of new indicators for GPs and commissioners designed to improve the management of atrial fibrillation and prevent thousands of case of stroke.

Every year in England around 110,000 people have a stroke, and atrial fibrillation (AF) is thought to be a contributing factor in 20% of cases. Stroke that is preceded by AF is a significant contributor to morbidity and mortality and is estimated to cost the NHS in England around £196 million.

According to estimates from NHS Improvement, around 8,000 AF-related strokes could be prevented if the condition were managed appropriately, which could potentially save the NHS £95 million a year.

As such, new indicators proposed by the Institute include boosting diagnosis of AF, given that around 440,000 cases remain undetected, and timely review of anticoagulant therapy, to ensure patient risk of AF-related stroke remains low.

Other NICE indicators currently up for consultation relate to antenatal care, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, weight management, learning disabilities and autism, with the aim of tackling widespread public health challenges “one patient at a time”.

“These potential indicators are being developed in a way that would allow them to be used by practices and CCGs for service development and improvement as well as for QOF [GP incentive scheme the Quality and Outcomes Framework],” noted Andrew Black, GP Mortimer Medical Practice and Deputy Chair of the Indicator Advisory Committee. “In addition they start to look at how whole health systems are responsible for the care of patients.”

The consultation on this set of indicators will close on February 29.