BHF Alliance member wins Heart Hero Award

BHF Alliance member Dr Julie Walker has been presented with the Heart Hero innovation award at the BHF supporters conference in Manchester.

26 June 2015

Dr Walker won for her role as Project Lead on an East Cheshire NHS Trust pilot project that enabled people with cardiovascular disease to be treated at home or in their communities rather than hospital. 

Dr Walker's award nomination video:

3,400 bed days saved

The pilot project, funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), has helped save nearly 3,400 bed days in just two years by identifying suitable patients for the Home Intravenous Therapy Service (HITS) team which enables heart failure patients to be treated at home for IV diuretics treatment.

The feedback we've had from patients has been amazing and has resulted in big reductions in hospital stays, particularly for heart failure patients. We are now able to see people at home or at satellite clinics in their community, which has really improved the patient experience.

Dr Julie Walker

Estimates reveal that the project, based at Macclesfield District General Hospital, is helping to save the health service around £8.80 for every £1 invested in it, totaling £1.2m in savings. Home visits, nurse-led clinics and better integration of care services are some of the reasons behind the project’s success.

Care in the community

There are more than 46,000 people living with cardiovascular disease (CVD) in Cheshire East, of which around 3,000 are living with heart failure.

The average length of a hospital stay for a heart failure patient is around two weeks, costing the NHS around £7,000 per patient visit.

Under the scheme, specialist nursing teams are able to treat people either at home or in nearby community clinics instead. As well as the cost savings, patients can avoid the stress and upheaval of a hospital stay. Many of the patients are elderly and more susceptible to infections and keeping them out of hospital also helps protect them from this risk.

Catherine Kelly, Director of Prevention, Survival and Support at the British Heart Foundation said: This simple but effective change in service delivery shows that true innovation which transforms patients' lives doesn't always come in the form of a new drug treatment. This innovation shows how something as simple as changing the location of treatment can improve clinical outcomes and improve people's everyday lives'.