Associate Feature: Working together we aim to help patients and protect our NHS
Transforming population health and reducing inequalities are critical for the long term sustainability of the NHS. Scotland are illustrating how ambitious, purpose-led partnerships can catalyse innovation and fundamentally change outcomes.
The NHS has been a pillar of our society since its inception and the dedication of NHS staff is a source of national pride. Nevertheless, health outcomes in Scotland and across the UK have lagged behind other Western nations in many areas, a situation exacerbated by the pandemic.
The NHS now faces the largest back-log in its history and a likely oncoming landslide of chronic disease as a result of delayed diagnoses and reduced access. For example, cardiovascular mortality has risen to its highest level in a decade and it is estimated that 23,000 diagnoses of Heart Failure were missed during the pandemic.1
Addressing Chronic Disease
Chronic diseases pose significant burden to patients and the NHS. Preventing potentially avoidable disease progression, hospitalisation and death through earlier diagnosis and proactive risk management to address this challenge has arguably never been so critical.
AstraZeneca in partnership with others has taken steps to address this challenge in Scotland. Project OPERA is a Heart Failure diagnostic collaboration between AstraZeneca, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, the West of Scotland Innovation Hub, Digital Health and Care Innovation Centre, and digital and diagnostic industry partners to accelerate diagnosis and deliver effective and timely patient management. The initiative deploys handheld diagnostic devices in addition to smart patient management. Delivered with urgency, flexibility and creativity during the pandemic OPERA offers significant learnings.
An early diagnosis can open a door to high quality healthcare in chronic diseases. Project OPERA has already reduced waiting lists for echocardiograms (diagnostic needed to diagnose heart failure) from 12 months to 12 weeks. This new model is already benefiting patients with earlier treatment plans as well as increasing the efficiency of clinical teams.
Partnerships like this demonstrate how we can innovate to address important healthcare challenges. Translation of positive initiatives may release much-needed resources elsewhere, but is notoriously challenging. AstraZeneca is delighted to see support for Project OPERA via the Centre for Sustainable Delivery to support scaling-up across Scotland via their new accelerated national innovation adoption pathway.2 AstraZeneca is also working to scale Project OPERA beyond Scotland.
We’re working together on OPERA as part of AstraZeneca’s Medical Missions, which include eradicating unplanned hospital admissions for heart failure. We’re particularly targeting our Medical Mission work to areas of high need, tackling health inequalities that undermine the essence of the NHS.
NHS Scotland has long-recognised the urgency of dealing with the growing burden of chronic diseases. In addition to the impact on patients, families and carers this is even more crucial at a time where unplanned admissions from such diseases redirect resource that could otherwise be used to clear the COVID backlog.
We believe that evidence-based research, innovation and the redesign of services are integral to the recovery of the NHS in Scotland. By extension, Scottish policies that prioritise and resource collaborative partnerships can enable further bold, ground-breaking approaches in care.
Inclusive and sustainable
Through working together in true partnerships, as illustrated by OPERA, AstraZeneca is supporting NHS Scotland to accelerate the early detection of chronic diseases and ensure swift implementation of evidence-based care for all patients, helping to ensure a sustainable health delivery service worthy of national pride.
**Advertorial paid for by AstraZeneca**
- https://1. https://www.ippr.org/files/2021-03/state-of-health-and-care-mar21.pdf