The NHS Long Term Plan identified CVD prevention as an area where improving health services can make a big difference to people living with those conditions and impact positively on health outcomes. Currently one person dies every three minutes from CVD.
We are supporting national ambitions to improve cholesterol management and the identification and management of familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), a hereditary condition of high cholesterol that is evident from birth but is rarely picked up before the individual has a CVD event. FH is a condition where people may not know they are suffering from it. This may leave them susceptible to heart attacks and strokes at a young age.
Cheshire and Merseyside, supported by the Innovation Agency are developing initiatives to combat this and identify more people with FH at a younger age. We have supported the development of a pilot service which is now receiving referrals from the national team.
The Innovation Agency is also one of seven AHSNs taking part in a national parent-child screening programme to detect FH. Infants will be offered a heel prick at their appointment to be tested at the surgery for elevated cholesterol. If high cholesterol levels are detected the sample will be sent to the regional genomics hub for genetic testing. If FH is identified the family can receive genetic counselling and be registered as having the condition and offered treatment.
In January 2022, surgeries in the North West Coast have begun this screening programme.