The United Kingdom Clinical Pharmacy Group (UKCPA) has launched a new report calling for action from healthcare leaders across the UK, to support the development of a clear patient pathway to help improve the diagnosis and management of atrial fibrillation (AF).

AF affects over one million people in the UK, and those affected are at a five-fold increased risk of AF-related stroke. The report titled Rising to the Challenge: Delivering QIPP by Preventing AF-related Stroke, was initiated by the UKCPA and funded by the BMS-Pfizer Alliance. The UKCPA maintained editorial control of the report throughout.

The report concludes that by improving the "prevention of AF-related stroke pathway", not only could the NHS save many more lives and improve patient outcomes, but it could also help address the Government’s Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention (QIPP) agenda.

Sotiris Antoniou, chair of the UKCPA Cardiac Group and consultant pharmacist at Barts Health NHS Trust, said: "The UKCPA’s call to action provides a stimulus for clinical leaders to come together to provide a cohesive policy on the best practice diagnosis and management of AF in order to reduce the burden being caused by AF-related stroke in the UK."

The NHS currently lacks an updated national clinical guideline recommending up-to-date, evidence-based best practice in identifying AF and prescribing appropriate anticoagulants for the prevention of AF-related stroke.

The UKCPA seeks to address this by the development of an ideal patient pathway, designed to support improved AF identification and diagnosis rates, appropriate prescription
of anticoagulation treatment, and effective management through follow-up. Following the launch of this report, the UKCPA aims to bring together clinical experts to develop a set of best practice recommendations.