Millions of people will now be offered checks for atrial fibrillation (AF) at GP surgeries and local pharmacies as part of an NHS England drive to cut heart disease deaths. 

The move will prevent countless strokes, and help reduce the pressure on the NHS. One third of people with AF are not yet diagnosed, increasing their risk of a potentially fatal stroke. This equates to around 500,000 people across the UK.

The scheme, called the NHS Right-Care Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Pathway, aims to identify people with heart disease risk factors by doing simple checks at GP surgeries and pharmacies.
So far, the scheme has been rolled out at 84 of the 209 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in England, with plans to introduce it at the remaining CCGs within the next two years.

Dr Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director at the BHF, said: “The NHS is good at doing this in some areas of the country but not all. If we can get the NHS to detect and treat atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure and high cholesterol better, we will reduce the burden of disease on individuals, their families and the NHS.”