Healthy hearts initiative to tackle cardiovascular disease across region

CARDIOVASCULAR disease is responsible for one in four premature deaths in the UK, and is one of the biggest causes of death and disability¹.

In West Yorkshire and Harrogate, more than 600,000 people are affected by high blood pressure (hypertension) – a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. We also know that 60,500 people have an irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation), and nearly 49,000 people have experienced a stroke or mini-stroke (TIA).²

West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership is leading an initiative called West Yorkshire and Harrogate Healthy Hearts to tackle cardiovascular disease across the area.

The initiative, delivered in partnership with Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network, is continuing to work with health and care partners including GPs, community pharmacists as well as voluntary organisations and community groups to prevent and care for people with cardivascular disease.


Recent data shows an improvement in the management of cholesterol with more than 2,500 patients having a medication review and switching to a stronger statin that can better control their cholesterol. More than 2,000 patients have been identified at risk of cardiovascular disease as their cholesterol is too high and have been offered a statin. This means that nearly 500 patients could avoid a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years across the area.

Risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes can lead to cardiovascular disease including a heart attack or stroke. Too many people are still living with undetected, high-risk conditions that can cause cardiovascular disease.

A healthy lifestyle and where necessary medication can have a huge impact to help prevent it, and during lockdown we need to ensure that this remains the case. It is estimated that around 256,000 people (9.8%) in our region have high blood pressure but remain undiagnosed.

Dr Steve Ollerton, a GP and Healthy Hearts Clinical Lead for NHS Greater Huddersfield and North Kirklees CCGs, said: “We have created clinical resources to enable GP practices to identify patients who need to be monitored more closely or might need changes to their medication to better control these risk factors. Working in partnership is helping to maximise resources and share best practice to ultimately benefit patients.

Treatment regimes

“We have developed new simplified treatment regimes based on national and international guidance looking at the latest recommendations for the management of hypertension and cholesterol. Since the initiative started, nearly 10,000 additional patients have been added to hypertension registers.”

Rob Webster, CEO Lead for West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership, said: “Working more closely with people to monitor their health means it will be easier to spot earlier on if they need more support. Positive lifestyle changes, for example, stopping smoking and losing weight can also help with issues related to Covid-19.

“More than 17,500 additional people have had their blood pressure controlled to a tighter target (less than 140/90). We have estimated that this could help more than 350 people avoid a heart attack or stroke over the next five years across WY&H and ultimately save more lives.”

Dr Ollerton added: “Cardiovascular disease has a huge impact on people’s lives, but early detection and treatment can help people live longer healthier lives.”


For more information about the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Healthy Hearts initiative go to or contact Pete Waddingham, programme manager, at


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