A new community heart failure project is under way in Northamptonshire aimed at bridging the gap between acute, primary care and community services for patients.An image of Dr Emma Copsey

The pilot project, led by Dr Emma Copsey, has been approved to receive evaluation funding and support from the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network (EMAHSN) Evaluation Fund.

In 2019, heart failure was included as a priority in the NHS Long Term Plan for England. A joint-working project was developed, with funding from AstraZeneca, together with Northampton General Hospital, to provide a new community cardiology service. Other partners involved include Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, iCAN and Northamptonshire Carers.

In our county there is currently an inequality of care for people requiring access to heart failure services. The pilot brings what would typically be a hospital-based cardiology outpatient clinic into a primary care setting, reducing waiting times and providing specialist care closer to home.

The aim of this service is to reduce the growth in heart failure admission and re-admissions to hospital, improve communication and access for GPs to specialist care, and improve patient experience and quality of life.

The pilot will run for one year. If successful, a business case will be submitted with the intention of commissioning on a substantive basis.

Emma will run three new in-person cardiology clinics across the county, as well as providing clinical consultant support to colleagues working in hospital and community settings. The clinics will take place in three county GP surgeries and Emma will see patients on an individual basis.

Alongside one-to-one clinics, a series of ‘Pumped Up’ support groups for people living with heart failure are being rolled out in Daventry. Emma will also attend to provide education and guidance in a friendly and informal setting. Wellbeing activities and exercise will be included, as well as guest speakers.

In addition to the clinics, Emma will be providing daily support for the community intravenous diuretic pilot, where patients with heart failure who would otherwise have required hospital admission, will be treated at home.

Emma worked as a cardiologist in Leicestershire for 10 years before taking up this role in Northamptonshire. As part of her advanced heart failure training and working in palliative care, she worked at Cransley Hospice in Kettering and Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Birmingham as part of her fellowship. Emma has an interest in lifestyle medicine and is a Complete Health Improvement Programme (CHIP) facilitator. The approach delivers holistic care to manage chronic conditions via diet, sleep, exercise and wellbeing.