Tackling cardiovascular disease in East Berkshire!

Cardiovascular disease is an umbrella term used to describe a range of different diseases that affect the heart or related blood vessels. Incidents of cardiovascular disease are increasing across the country, which has massive implications to our local and national health system.

The CCGs in East Berkshire (Slough CCG, Bracknell & Ascot CCG and Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead CCG) have decided to proactively manage this issue by identifying a cardiology service redesign as one of the priority areas for the CCGs to focus on.

The work involved in the cardiology service redesign has identified four key areas, which will have the biggest impact on patient outcomes and NHS services. The four key areas are:

  1. Heart Failure
  2. Chest Pain
  3. Cardiac rehabilitation
  4. Arrhythmia

The Four Areas in detail

Heart Failure

Heart Failure is where the heart is failing to pump enough blood around the body at the right pressure.

We are looking at how heart failure patients can be treated more efficiently moving from GP practices to hospitals or where possible providing additional support to GP practices to help them manage their patients within local practices. There is an opportunity to treat the majority of heart failure patients within the community. This provides the opportunity for our local hospitals to focus on patients that are very poorly, or requiring specialist care and treatments.

We are working with the local cardiology consultants from the hospitals, heart failure nurses from the community and hospital services, along with your local GPs to develop suitable treatment pathways and proposals to deliver these services for our patients.

Chest pain

Chest pain is one of the most common reasons that people go to accident and emergency departments. This clearly places a lot of strain on local accident and emergency departments.

We are working with the local hospital to implement better use of diagnostic testing, so that patients with suspected chest pain do not have to be unnecessarily admitted to hospital for investigation. In support of this, we are designing treatment pathways to help local GPs have the right support to help manage suspected chest pain patients within practices.

Cardiac rehabilitation

Cardiac rehabilitation is an important phase of the recovery process for those that have experienced heart problems, like a heart attack. It usually takes the form of a set programme designed to help improve both the physical and mental well-being of the patient.

We know that attending cardiac rehabilitation programmes leads to improved patient outcomes and reduces the likelihood of patients being readmitted for the same heart condition. Cardiac rehabilitation programmes also provides patients with the opportunity to take more responsibility for managing their long-term recovery. We are currently looking at how we can improve the local provision of cardiac rehabilitation services for patients in both (Bracknell and Ascot & Slough) CCG areas.


Arrhythmia is a group of conditions where the heartbeat is irregular. The CCGs have decided to focus on Atrial Fibrillation as this makes up the vast majority of arrhythmia cases.

Unmanaged atrial fibrillation can lead to an increased risk of having a stroke, which has major implications to patients’ health and wellbeing. We are looking at ways in which we can improve identifying those patients at risk of developing atrial fibrillation, and also those that already have it and are yet to be diagnosed.

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