Londoners urged to #knowyourpulse with 60,000 in capital unaware of stroke risk

60,000 in capital unaware of stroke risk

Londoners urged to #knowyourpulse

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has urged Londoners to have a simple pulse rhythm check to identify the most common cause of irregular heartbeat Atrial Fibrillation (AF) that can cause a stroke with 60,000 estimated to be undiagnosed in the capital.

The call comes after the Mayor had a test himself ahead of Global AF Aware Week (20-26 November), which starts today. The Mayor’s message can be viewed below.

Over 150,0000 Londoners are affected by AF and of these an estimated 60,000 remain undiagnosed. Nationally, as the most common type of irregular heartbeat, AF is responsible for approximately 20% of all strokes. Stroke survivors must live with the disabling consequences and treating the condition costs the NHS across England over £2.2 billion each year.

This year’s Global AF Aware Week message is ‘Identifying the Undiagnosed Person with AF’. Londoners are being encouraged to spread the word about irregular heartbeats and urge friends and family – particularly those aged over 65 – to check their pulse and see a GP if it is irregular. Pulse checks can be done manually (a British Heart Foundation video and guide shows how here) or through technology, with irregular rhythms investigated further by healthcare professionals.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:

“More than 150,0000 Londoners have the most common type of irregular heartbeat, which is called Atrial Fibrillation or AF, and are at higher risk of a stroke. Not everyone with AF has symptoms and a simple pulse rhythm check could save their life.

“I’m urging Londoners to have a free, 30-second pulse check this week during international AF Awareness Week. You can do this at one of the many awareness events happening across the capital this week, or ask your doctor or nurse.”

Professor Gary Ford, Stroke Physician and Chair of the AHSN Network Atrial Fibrillation Group, said:

“More than 60,000 Londoners are unaware they have Atrial Fibrillation which is responsible for 1 in 5 strokes. We have highly effective treatments that reduce the risk of stroke in people with AF.

“During Global AF Aware Week I am urging everyone, but particularly those over 65 to have their pulse rhythms checked. This simple check could prevent a stroke, which can have a devastating impact on their lives.

“I fully support the Mayor of London in his call for Londoners to have a simple check so that we can prevent strokes and ultimately, save lives and prevent long term disability.”

Free drop in pulse rhythm checks are running across London organised by the three Academic Health Science Networks and their partners in GP surgeries, hospitals and community settings. More details can be found here.


For more information contact the Health Innovation Network media team on 07983 773 859

Notes to editors:

Activities for Global AF Aware Week across London are listed here.

About Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart arrhythmia seen in general practice and is a major risk factor for stroke, contributing to 1 in 5 strokes. Many people do not know they have the condition as not everyone experiences symptoms. Across London, it has been estimated that 60,000 people are living with AF undetected. AF can easily be detected by pulse checks and the risk of stroke reduced by starting appropriate treatment.

Members of the public can watch how to check for an irregular pulse rhythm in this easy to follow video produced by the British Heart Foundation Know Your Pulse

Professionals involved in commissioning healthcare can access resources to help them improve detection and treatment for AF here Detect, Protect and Perfect.

About London’s Academic Health Science Networks
As the only bodies that connect NHS and academic organisations, local authorities, the third sector and industry, AHSNs act as catalysts to create the right conditions for innovation and change across whole health and social care economies, with a clear focus on improving outcomes for patients. They work together to speed up innovation in healthcare, helping to save lives, save money and drive economic growth. London has three AHSNs:

Health Innovation Network
The Health Innovation Network is the academic health science network (AHSN) for south London and speeds up the best, evidence-based improvements across the NHS locally. It focuses on diabetes, stroke prevention, healthy ageing, safety and programmes to combat joint pain as well as having a major digital health component. See

Imperial College Health Partners
Imperial College Health Partners is a partnership organisation bringing together NHS providers of healthcare services, clinical commissioning groups and leading universities across North West London. See here for more information about our 20 members. ICHP is also the designated Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) for North West London and members of The AHSN Network. See

UCLPartners is an academic health science partnership that brings together people and organisations to transform the health and wellbeing of the population. Working in partnership and at pace, its members from the NHS and higher education support the healthcare system serving over six million people in parts of London, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Essex. See

About Global AF Awareness Week
Organised by the AF Association, this years’ Global AF Aware Week focuses on ‘Identifying the Undiagnosed Person with AF’ with its Detect, Protect, Correct & Perfect campaign. See

The AF Association provides support, information and guidance to anyone affected by atrial fibrillation. It works in partnership with patients and clinical experts to advance the education of both the medical profession and the general public on the risks, detection and treatment of AF.

The AF Association website can be found at

The statistics are from the NHS’ Size of the Prize England published September 2017 and the AF Association.

Improving Catheter Care: My Catheter Passport

Improving Catheter Care: My Catheter Passport

Dr Adrian Hoppper, Consultant Geriatrician, Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust on improving catheter care.

Last month, we launched My Catheter Passport across Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and our teams working within the community which has been a triumph for everyone involved.

We developed the Passport in response to concerns about the lack of clear information about patients’ catheters being shared across care settings, including why a patient even needs a catheter. We believe that these issues contribute to  the rates of catheter associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) developed within the community, as well as why patients attend hospital with issues such as blocked catheters, which could have been prevented with clear care plans.

It always amazes me when I hear of another patient who is unaware of why they were given a catheter in the first place or who has contracted a catheter associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI). People are at a higher risk of UTIs when they have a catheter inserted, and unfortunately CAUTIs have been associated with increased mortality, length of stay in hospital and healthcare costs. It can be frustrating when I know that with the right care and information, CAUTIs can be prevented.

As a consultant geriatrician at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and chairperson of the Southwark and Lambeth Integrated Care Infections Working Group (a group made up of people with catheter care experience and health and social care professionals), I’m driving forward the fight against CAUTIs and the impact they have on people. I also want to make sure that GP practices, community services and hospitals communicate more effectively with each other, so patients receive the best care.

The My Catheter Passport was a fantastic opportunity for us to co-design something with patients and health and social care professionals. It is a patient-owned document packed full of useful information and contact details for people with catheters, to empower them to live as independently as possible. The Passport will now be given to all adult patients when they are discharged from hospital and to those currently receiving care in the community; and patients should have it with them whenever they are seeing a health and social care professional about their catheter. This is because there is a section of the Passport that health and social must complete to record any changes or issues with the patient’s catheter. We hope that this will improve communication between care settings. I am extremely pleased with how the Passport turned out, especially as it is a true example of co-production with local people and professionals.

The Passport is one of a number of interventions that we want to spread across the five South East London hospitals, as part of the ‘No Catheter, No CAUTI’ campaign. The campaign is led by the Health Innovation Network’s(HIN) Patient Safety Collaborative, and I am the Clinical Director for Patient Safety for the HIN. Follow the campaign on Twitter – #HINstopcauti.

The collaborative has recently been set up to share best practice across partners to improve catheter care with the aim of significantly reducing CAUTIs. This will be achieved by testing a series of interventions that support avoiding unnecessary catheterisation, the prompt removal of catheters, learning from rapid review of CAUTIs, as well as community based interventions such as the Passport.

We have achieved a lot in the last year, all of which we should be proud of. However, in the process of developing the Passport, we discovered further challenges to delivering a gold standard in catheter care for patients. Most notably, the catheter care pathway is fragmented, so patients are coming to A&E with issues that could be managed in the community; and there is a disjointed prescription process, which can lead to duplication of prescriptions and an increase in cost.

As you can see, we are not without our challenges in catheter care and it’s clear we still have a lot of work to do across Southwark and Lambeth. It was agreed that these challenges need to be explored further and solutions drawn up to address them. The conversations to do this have already started and the Infections Working Group will come together to map out a new service model that would work for people with catheters.

I’m lucky in that I get to work with people that are equally passionate about catheter care and addressing the challenges we face. I had the pleasure of witnessing this enthusiasm at the #CatheterSummit at the beginning of the year. I am excited about the future and what we can do together so patients with catheters in Southwark and Lambeth receive the best possible care that is right for them.

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