Working together to prevent cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease, also known as CVD, is responsible for one in four premature deaths in the U.K. and it’s one of the biggest causes of death and disability.

Healthy Hearts

Healthy Hearts - Working together to prevent cardiovascular disease.

NHS Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is working with West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership to support a local initiative called West Yorkshire and Harrogate Healthy Hearts. The initiative aims to promote a more cohesive approach across the area to tackle cardiovascular disease. 

Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network is delivering this programme working with the NHS Wakefield CCG, health and care professionals across the area including GPs, community pharmacists as well as voluntary organisations and community groups to join forces to better care for patients with CVD. 

Prevention has never been so important as risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes can lead to cardiovascular disease including a heart attack or stroke. Too many people are still living with undetected, high-risk conditions that can cause CVD, but a healthy lifestyle and where necessary medication can have a huge impact to help prevent it.

Dr Steve Ollerton, a GP and Healthy Hearts Clinical Lead for NHS Greater Huddersfield and North Kirklees CCGs, commented: “We have created clinical resources to enable GP practices to identify patients who need to be monitored more closely or might need changes to their medication to better control these risk factors. Working in partnership is helping to maximise resources and share best practice to ultimately benefit patients. We have developed new simplified treatment regimes based on national and international guidance looking at the latest recommendations for the management of hypertension and cholesterol”. 

Dr Pravin Jayakumar, a GP and Cardiovascular Lead for Healthy Hearts, Wakefield CCG said: “There are lots of things that we can all do to reduce the risks that lead to heart attacks and strokes. It’s never too late to make changes to your lifestyle and start looking after your heart. If you have high blood pressure, your heart has to work harder to pump blood around your body. And if you have high cholesterol, this can cause fatty deposits in your arteries limiting the circulation of blood and oxygen in your body increasing the risk of heart attacks or strokes”.

Since the project started, more than 1,000 additional patients across Wakefield have been added to hypertension registers. This means they will be monitored more closely, and it will be easier to spot earlier on if they need more support with implementing positive lifestyle changes including stopping smoking, losing weight or eating healthier or if they might need to change their current medication. More than 2,000 additional patients have had their blood pressure controlled to less than 140/90. This could help nearly 40 patients avoid a heart attack or stroke over the next 5 years. 

In the past few months, this programme has also started to work with general practices across West Yorkshire and Harrogate to provide clinical resources to help tackle high cholesterol. Recent data showed an improvement in the management of cholesterol as well.  More than 2,500 patients had a medication review and have now switched to a statin that can better control their cholesterol. More than 2,000 patients have been identified at risk of cardiovascular disease as their cholesterol is too high and have been offered a statin. This means that nearly 500 patients could avoid a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years. 

Cardiovascular disease has a huge impact on people’s lives, but early detection and treatment can help patients live longer healthier lives. 

For more information about the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Healthy Hearts initiative please visit or contact Pete Waddingham, programme manager, and follow @WYHHealthyHeart on Twitter.

You can find out more about West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership at