Boost warfarin prescriptions to cut NHS costs by £124m

Ensuring all eligible AF patients take warfarin could prevent 11,600 strokes and save the NHS £124m a year, according to NHS experts.

Warfarin: wider use could cut NHS costs (Photo: SPL)

NHS Improving Quality, an organisation set up by NHS England to drive up care standards, urged GPs to use the freely-accessible GRASP-AF tool to help them assess whether patients should be receiving treatment for the condition and to check patient care plans.

It used data from the GRASP-AF audit tool to estimate the England-wide prevalence of AF and prescribing patterns.

The resultant report reveals that only half (54%) of those eligible for anticoagulants, as according to the latest NICE guidelines, are currently receiving treatment.

NICE outlines that patients meet the prescribing requirements if they have a CHA2DS2-VASc score of two or more. But with only 54% taking treatment, ‘it is likely that there are substantial numbers of people with AF who would benefit from anticoagulation therapy but are not receiving it’, warned NHS Improving Quality.

It concluded that a further 16,000 strokes a year – including 3,200 that would have been fatal – could be averted if all patients with AF were prescribed warfarin.

GRASP-AF tool

The group calculated that, over a lifetime, 0.3 strokes would be averted and 0.79 QALYs would be gained per person with AF should they receive warfarin treatment. This would create net savings of £2,400 for the NHS per patient and £124m a year.

Hilary Walker, head of the Living Longer Lives programme at NHS Improving Quality, said: ‘Data from the GRASP-AF audit tool shows us that currently not everyone is being managed as well as they should be.

‘This is putting patients’ lives at risk and costing the NHS and social care millions of pounds every year. GP practices can use the GRASP-AF tool for free to quickly identify patients who have, or might have AF, and check their management plan.

‘We encourage all GP practices not currently using GRASP-AF to download the tool and start to audit their care of people with AF.’

The NHS estimates that more than 900,000 people in England have AF, equivalent to almost 2% of the population. The condition is associated with an increased risk of stroke, heart failure and premature mortality.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in


Just published

Young doctor

BMA poll could see 'demeaning' junior doctor title ditched

The BMA could drop the term 'junior doctor' in favour of 'resident doctor' to better...

Houses of parliament

Tory peer calls PA fears 'Luddism' and claims most GP visits 'incredibly straightforward'

Most GP appointments are 'incredibly straightforward' and fears over a wider role...

UK money

NHS pension contribution overhaul to go ahead from April

Changes to NHS pension contribution rates, which will see the top earners required...

BMA sign

BMA warns £800m lost from GP contract since 2019 as last-ditch talks continue

BMA negotiators remain in talks over an improved GP contract offer for 2024/25 just...

GP consultation

GPs still under pressure to prescribe black triangle drug inclisiran

GPs are continuing to face pressure to prescribe the black triangle drug inclisiran...

BMA chair Professor Phil Banfield

Lords urged to block legislation for GMC to regulate PAs

The BMA has urged peers to block legislation that would make the GMC responsible...