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Anticoagulation service for AF patients moves closer to home

City patients with a long term heart condition are set to benefit from receiving care from their own GP.

GPs from the Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are working with Leicester’s hospitals to transfer patients with Atrial Fibrillation who are being monitored for warfarin treatment out of hospital into their local GP surgery.

Four specialist GPs have been recruited across the city to support the GP practices going forward. A number of GPs have also been given extra training to detect and treat the signs and symptoms of Atrial fibrillation and these patients shall be referred directly into the practice anticoagulation service.

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a heart condition that causes an irregular and often very fast heart rate. The condition is generally not life threatening, but it can be uncomfortable and often needs treatment. Treatment may involve medication to control the heart rate or rhythm, and medication to prevent a stroke.

Dr Rishabh Prasad, GP at Willowbrook Surgery on Thurncourt Road and clinical lead for the project, said: “The aims of moving this service out of hospital and closer to patients’ homes means the patient can be seen and monitored by their local practice close to home. GPs like me also hold the patient’s full medical history which is vital when assessing a patient on warfarin treatment. Bringing the service into the community means patients will be getting convenience as well as continuity of good quality healthcare.”

A pilot service began in December 2012 and ended in February this year. The pilot was so successful that it is now being rolled it out to all practices by the end of April. A considerable amount of work is taking place with Leicester’s hospitals to ensure that the transition for patients is a safe process.

Dr Prasad, added: “Warfarin is a delicate drug to control and the patient’s condition can become quite irregular so they may need two or three appointments in succession to ensure they are on the right levels of medication. Again having the service on their doorstep allows this process to happen much more effectively.”

If patients have any further questions about their care they can contact their practice manager or GP for advice.

More information on AF and warfarin treatment can be found on the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk

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