The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Atrial Fibrillation (APGAF)
The All Party Parliamentary Group on AF (APGAF) champions awareness of Atrial Fibrillation (AF) from within the heart of Westminster.
APGAF report on pulse checks in the NHS
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Atrial Fibrillation has developed a report which assesses the extent to which Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) are conducting opportunistic pulse checks
This report also showcases the most original ideas and best practice in delivering opportunistic pulse checks and encourages commissioners and healthcare professionals to consider implementing these.
Read the report here
Previous APGAF meetings
APGAF meetings to date:
Wednesday 6th March 2013 APGAF meeting focused on the Cardiovascular Disease Outcomes Strategy published by the Department of Health the previous day.
Given that AF was previously ignored within the National Service Framework for coronary disease, inclusion signalled a landmark achievement for the APGAF and the AF Association. Attendees at this meeting therefore discussed the implications of this strategy, its implementation and how it could be used to improve outcomes for people with AF. The group made a number of recommendations to achieve this.
Read the report here
Tuesday 4th December 2012, APGAF explored barriers patients currently face in obtaining the right treatment for their AF.
Ensuring patients have access to the most appropriate treatments is at the heart of the work of both the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Atrial Fibrillation (APGAF) and the AF Association. Attendees at the recent APGAF meeting included a broad range of medical professionals, parliamentarians and patients, who discussed the barriers that patients currently face and how this situation could be improved.
The group made a number of recommendations including:
• Patients should have access to an AF specialist
• GPs should be sent on AF awareness education courses to boost their knowledge of the condition
• SHAs (and from April 2013 CCGs) to adhere to NICE guidance on new treatments
• Shared decision making processes to be at the heart of the treatment pathway
A full report was developed following this meeting which can be accessed here
Tuesday 3rd July 2012, APGAF examines best practice in AF for inclusion in £20bn QIPP challenge.
A range of medical professionals, third-sector representatives, and parliamentarians attended the meeting and took part in a discussion of how the NHS can improve and manage AF care, to meet the QIPP target of £20 billion of efficiency savings across the Service. The meeting also marked the launch of a report which assesses NHS performance across PCTs in providing routine and opportunistic pulse checks.
Affecting 1.5 million people - a figure predicted to double by 2050, AF consumes almost 1% of the entire NHS budget. Early diagnosis and optimal treatment of AF will be essential to prevent a stroke epidemic, thus saving considerable NHS resources, not to mention personal suffering for those affected.
Wednesday 25th January 2012, AFA holds Parliamentary event to promote Quality Standards for patients.
Glyn Davies MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on AF (Conservative, Montgomeryshire) recently hosted an event in the House of Commons to highlight the importance of promoting high quality standards of care for patients. Speaking alongside him was CEO and Founder of the AFA, Trudie Lobban, and two patient speakers, Martin and Chris. Read more
AF Quality Standard referred to NICE – 19 March 2012
Following advice from the National Quality Board, the Department of Health has referred the Quality Standard on AF for development by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). NICE has been instructed to make available its production schedule for the AF Quality Standard at its earliest opportunity. AFA welcomes this announcement and is pleased that its call for the introduction of an early Quality Standard for AF has been heard. The development of the Quality Standard will draw on detailed engagement responses provided by stakeholders and the AFA will be delighted to get involved in this process.
Tuesday 25th October 2011, the APGAF launches ‘Healthcare Pioneers’ to parliamentarians, patients and clinicians.
This meeting of the APGAF marked the launch of the booklet ‘Healthcare Pioneers’ which informed MPs, peers and policy-makers about innovative ways of commissioning for the diagnosis and treatment AF in England and Wales.
The launch event:
At the inaugural meeting in the Palace of Westminster, where CEO and Founder of the AFA Trudie Lobban spoke to parliamentarians about the work of the AFA; Professor Sir Roger Boyle, National Director for Heart Disease and Stroke at the Department of Health, outlined the progress made in the management of AF. In addition, he examined the challenges facing the NHS in detecting, and caring for patients with AF. MPs and peers also learnt about the awareness raising work of the AFA as part of World Heart Rhythm Week.
Speaking after the meeting, Trudie Lobban said:
“The APGAF will work to ensure the diagnosis, care, treatment, management and research of AF is a priority for the NHS. As we come to a critical juncture in the NHS reforms in England, it is important that patients with AF have a greater say in their care, and for the NHS to ensure that there are better diagnosis and treatment options available to patients with AF. I am delighted that the AFA is able to play a crucial part in establishing this group.”
Glyn Davies MP added:
“Atrial Fibrillation is an issue that is very important to me and I am delighted to have been elected to Chair the APGAF. As an AF patient myself, I know the importance of knowing the signs and symptoms of AF in order to receive an early diagnosis and the appropriate treatment. I look forward to working with my fellow parliamentarians to raise awareness of AF and make this Group a resounding success.”
As a result of our work in Westminster, AF issues are often raised in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
Please find further details of recent mentions of AF in parliament;
Stroke Care discussion in the House of Lords
Stroke Care discussion in the House of Lords
On Monday 30th January 2012, a debate on stroke care took place in the House of Lords where the issue of appointing a new National Clinical lead for Heart Disease and Stroke was discussed. For the full transcript of the debate click here
In the oral questions to the Secretary of State for Health, the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on AF, Mr Glyn Davies MP highlighted the importance of heightening awareness of AF. In the same debate Robert Buckland MP asked the Secretary of State what consideration had been given to pulse checks forming a compulsory part of an NHS Health Check. For the full transcript of these questions then please click here.
Glyn Davies MP also asked the Secretary of State for Health for his views on the publication of a quality standard for Atrial Fibrillation. The Minister of State for Health Simon Burns MP, confirmed that AF was included within the library of proposed quality standards. For full details of this exchange please click here.
Lord Laird recently had his written question about the level of arrhythmia information available to the medical community answered by the Parliamentary undersecretary of state, Earl Howe. In his answer Earl Howe mentioned the AFA by name and drew attention to the development of the national GP questionnaire. You can view the question and answer in full here
L to R: Professor Sir Roger Boyle, Glyn Davies MP, Madeleine Moon MP, Trudie Lobban MBE, Lord Jones of Cheltenham & Lord Colwyn
AFA CEO & Founder Trudie Lobban MBE and newly elected Chair Glyn Davies MP having his pulse checked as part of World Heart Rhythm Week
Barriers to treatment were discussed at the December APGAF meeting. Left to right, consultant cardiologist Derick Todd, MP Glyn Davies and AF Association chief executive, Trudie Lobban MBE