Westminster Forum

Westminster Forum

Wednesday 4th March 2020

Westminster Forum- Next steps at the individual, community and national level

As discussed at the Forum, for the individual, improved prevention can be ensured by enabling behavioural change, optimising clinical management and through persuasion. Behavioural change involves taking responsibility of your own health through better heath management. We all too often see heart valve disease patients presenting to primary care providers too late after not recognising the symptoms of valve disease or misidentifying them as results of the ageing process. Here, education through awareness is key. Making people aware of the signs and symptoms of valve disease and then entrusting them to monitor theirs, and their friends and families, symptoms will lead to increased detection and diagnosis of heart valve disease.

At community level, optimising service provision, environment restructuring, training and incentivisation were presented as key components in the next steps. Optimising service provision was a central theme of the day. Reducing inequalities in access by diversifying primary care models and networks and making every contact count are central to Heart Valve Voice’s policy campaigns. This year, we will roll out a flu jab trial, giving stethoscope checks to elderly patients whilst they receive their jabs. Heart Valve Voice continue to look to capitalise on scheduled contacts and increasing the volume of stethoscope checks carried out by primary care providers to ensure that heart valve disease is detected as early as possible.

At the community level, it is about creating social networks and a shared responsibility. Be it promoting healthy lifestyle, distilling confidence in patients, health management, case finding, rehab or checks, social networks and communities will be central to the improved prevention and delivery of care of heart valve disease. The continued improvement is a shared responsibility, and everyone needs to ask themselves what can i do to help? This is why Heart Valve Voice diversify our educational materials and campaigning. We have to ensure that we engaging with the broad range of communities in the UK and ensuring that they have the information required to build a culture that recognises the signs and symptoms of heart valve disease.

Nationally, prevention, innovation and delivery of care will be driven by regulation, legislation and guidance. Heart Valve Voice’s Gold Standard of Care will be central to ensuring regulation and guidelines deliver the best possible outcomes for patients. National work goes beyond just guidelines though, and innovative ways of collaborating and thinking across sectors and disciplines will also be necessary to deliver on The Long Term Plan.