Doctor using stethoscope to check patient's heartbeat

New NHS pilot to curb cardiovascular disease and reduce health inequalities

The NHS is moving to tackle cardiovascular disease with £2m of funding from the National Institute for Health and Care Research.

The investment will specifically look at preventing cardiovascular disease in those with severe mental illness, who can die up to 15-20 years younger than the general population – mainly due to cardiovascular disease.

As part of this work, the PEGASUS study will develop group clinics to deliver bespoke and targeted support to those at risk of cardiovascular disease.

The initial pilot will see 10 patients across four mental health trusts receive support, including dietary advice and psychiatric medication reviews.

The project is a collaboration between City, University of London and East London NHS Foundation Trust.

Professor Frank Röhricht who is the medical director of the London trust said the work is about combatting “social isolation as a key motivational factor” for cardiovascular disease.

“In the PEGASUS programme, we will work with people using mental health services, and mental and physical health care professionals to co-design a group clinic that aims to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease for all people with severe mental illness and to tackle social isolation as well as poor subjective quality of life in an integrated way.”

A particular focus will be drawn on flattening health inequalities with awareness workshops set to encourage uptake in marginalised communities.

City, University of London’s Professor Steve Gillard, who will be co-leading the project, added: “We are excited about the potential of PEGASUS to bring about a transformation in the way we approach healthcare for people with severe mental illness.

“By actively involving communities in the process, we believe we can make a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of this vulnerable group of people."

Image credit: iStock

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NHE May/June 2024

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