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Journal of General Practice Nursing (GPN) | September 2021

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‘Freedom from Failure — the F Word’ campaign

‘Freedom from Failure — the F Word’ campaign

Pages: 16 - 16

The long awaited, now published, ‘Getting it Right First Time’ (GIRFT) cardiology report (www. gettingitrightfirsttime.co.uk/wpcontent/uploads/2021/08/Cardiology-Jul21k-NEW.pdf), places significant emphasis on the importance of diagnosis of heart failure and on rapid treatment in ambulatory care centres or in the community. However, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on cardiovascular disease in general cannot be denied or ignored. The pandemic has rewritten healthcare reality, as starkly recounted in the recent British Heart Foundation (BHF) ‘Untold Heartbreak’ report which highlights growing issues such as burgeoning waiting lists (www.bhf.org.uk/what-we-do/policy-and-publicaffairs/legacy-of-covid).

Across the UK, people living with heart disease have experienced progressive worsening of their health while avoiding hospital or waiting for care, potentially missing windows of opportunity for treatments, leading to long-term disability from heart failure. But, the good news is that detection and early diagnosis can dramatically improve outcomes for people with heart failure (www.nicor.org.uk/nationalcardiac-audit-programme/about-heartfailure/), and recent approvals allow new, highly beneficial treatments to be offered — including for those with heart failure with HFpEF (heart failure with preserved ejection fraction), historically more difficult to manage.

The British Society for Heart Failure (BSH), the professional association for heart failure care in the UK, together with charities such as the BHF, professional associations, royal colleges, NHS England and Public Health England, has launched the ‘Freedom from Failure — The F Word’ campaign to expedite early detection and diagnosis by raising awareness of the need for self-recognition of the symptoms of heart failure (such as fighting for breath, fatigue and fluid retention) and to seek timely medical help. Early diagnosis is crucial to improving outcomes for those with heart failure (Taylor et al, 2019). And, with the now more widely available blood test (NTproBNP), easily conducted in general practice, the opportunity to eliminate a diagnosis of heart failure or strengthen the likelihood if levels are raised, is eminently possible (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence [NICE], 2018). Raised NP (natriuretic protein) indicates the need for more confirmatory tests (such as chest x-ray/echocardiogram) and referral to a specialist.

For this stage of the F Word campaign, the BSH is set to deliver informational, educational infographics and a series of webinars for healthcare professionals across all care settings, which build towards the BSH flagship annual Meeting in December. On 8 September there will be a live webinar called ‘The Heart Failure Observatory — Levelling Up’ on the subject of personalised medicine (does one size fit all...?). This webinar will focus on balancing the need for personalised care with the implications of the new European Society of Cardiology (ESC) guidelines for heart failure care (https://pace-cme.org/2021/06/29/previewof-the-2021-esc-hfa-heart-failureguidelines/); a complete overview of which will be presented at the ESC 2021 congress (27–30 August, 2021).

On World Heart Day, 29 September, a case study-based webinar called ‘Freedom from Failure — differentiating the symptoms of heart failure’ will examine differential heart failure diagnosis from other potentially masking conditions, such as fighting for breath/breathlessness. Also on this day, one of BSH’s infographics is planned for release, depicting our campaign ambassador, Brian Blessed, on an epic journey. On 21 October, a webinar showcasing devolved practice from the four nations of the UK with a focus on improving outcomes and patient experience is to be held. And in November, there will be a joint webinar event with the King’s Fund, with a lens on population health and heart failure. Over 1–3 December 2021, this year’s annual BSH meeting will take place as a hybrid event designed to appeal equally to in-person and virtual attendance. Come and join us, there should be something to appeal to everyone with an interest in heart failure.

To learn more about the F Word campaign, please visit: www.bsh.org.uk/the-f-word/ and for the BSH, visit: www.bsh.org.uk/

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