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GPs hope to save hundreds of Trafford patients at risk from ‘ticking time bomb’ heart condition

A group of GP practices is driving a ‘detect and protect’ programme to save hundreds of Trafford patients living with a potentially dangerous heart condition which could lead to a stroke.

Figures show that 1 in every 45 people in Trafford is living with Atrial Fibrillation (AF) which causes an irregular or abnormally fast heart rate and is one of the major causes of a stroke.

Almost 400 people in Trafford are currently unaware they have this condition and are currently at risk of a stroke.

And with death from strokes in South Trafford 13% higher than the UK average, a group of five local GP practices is driving a ‘detect and protect’ programme checking the pulses of as many patients as possible in the area to protect them from the potentially life-threatening condition through early intervention.

Altrincham Healthcare Alliance Primary Care Network which includes Altrincham Medical Practice, Park Medical Practice in Timperley, St Johns Medical Centre in Altrincham, Shay Lane Medical Centre in Hale Barns and West Timperley Medical Centre, is working with Age UK Trafford, the Stroke Association, Thrive Trafford and Instep Footcare in Altrincham, to maximise the detection of those with AF.

Dr Kate Jennings, Clinical Director, Altrincham Healthcare Alliance PCN


Kate Jennings, Clinical Director at Altrincham Healthcare Alliance and GP Partner at Altrincham Medical Practice, said: “As GPs we are obviously dedicated to improving the health of our patients. This gives us an opportunity to save lives. AF is a ticking time bomb with many sufferers not showing obvious symptoms and unaware they have the condition. By simply checking the pulse of as many people as possible, we’ve the chance to detect AF and protect patients from a potentially life-threatening stroke. Figures show that if 85% of those with AF are identified and treated we will have prevented 13 strokes.”

Using credit card sized mobile ECG devices provided by Health Innovation Manchester that can detect AF in just 30 seconds, volunteers from Trafford charities and community groups are supporting the five GP practices rolling-out the programme in the area.

Karen Glendinning from Age UK Trafford which is testing for AF at various events, including their ‘Man with a Pan’ sessions aimed at older men keen to learn to cook more wholesome meals, added: “We’re using the simple, quick AF test in all our projects and believe it’s vital to give people a ‘heads up’ on potential problems. This programme is a potential life-saver and we’re delighted to be involved.”

Dr Mark Jarvis, Medical Director at NHS Trafford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “This simple test as part of the ‘detect and protect’ programme is an excellent tool available to GPs which should hopefully help save the lives of many people. Flagging up atrial fibrillation in patients allows early intervention and treatment by GPs.”