Heart Failure Policy Network launches project exploring policy and practice

17 November 2020

The Heart Failure Policy Network (HFPN), for which HPP acts as secretariat, has launched a major report exploring gaps in heart failure policy and care, and outlining urgent actions needed to improve the lives of the millions of people living with heart failure in Europe.

The new project, Heart failure policy and practice in Europe, offers a comprehensive analysis of gaps and best practice in 11 European countries: Belgium, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain. It includes a pan-European report and 11 standalone country profiles, which aim to empower national advocates to bring the case for change to decision-makers. The report has been endorsed by more than 30 organisations across Europe, including professional bodies and patient advocacy groups.

Based on the literature and input from more than 50 heart failure experts across Europe, the report identifies many structural deficits in healthcare systems of serious concern. The issues include the lack of a dedicated strategy in many countries, a shortage of ongoing registries to allow assessment of performance in heart failure care, limited access to key specialist roles and settings or basic elements of best-practice care in community settings, and inadequate technology and IT infrastructure. These issues are more important than ever given the recent impact of COVID-19 on healthcare systems and people living with cardiovascular disease.

The report outlines five urgent actions needed in most, if not all, of the countries analysed:

  1. Increase awareness of HF among the public, healthcare professionals and decision-makers
  2. Reimburse natriuretic peptide (NP) testing universally across care settings and incentivise its appropriate use to support diagnosis of HF
  3. Accredit and fund the HF specialist nurse role
  4. Invest in tools to support communication across care settings, including appropriate IT systems
  5. Fund and facilitate multidisciplinary and integrated HF care through the development of care protocols, clinical networks and telemedicine models

HPP Managing Director Ed Harding, who is also Network Director of HFPN, said: ‘This report is a landmark for a widely misunderstood and highly prevalent condition that’s critical to solving wider challenges to healthcare sustainability. One in five people can expect to be diagnosed with HF at some point in their lives. Yet few governments have an effective strategic vision for mitigating the syndrome and its terrible impact on millions of people across Europe, along with the rising costs faced by our healthcare systems. Until now, there has been a lack of clarity as to national barriers to progress in addressing HF. This work, Heart failure policy and practice in Europe, paves the way to concerted political action by HF advocates in many countries.’

The HFPN is an independent, multidisciplinary network of healthcare professionals, advocacy groups, policymakers and other stakeholders from across Europe aiming to raise awareness of unmet needs and seek meaningful improvements in HF policy and care. To find out more about Heart failure policy and practice in Europe, visit: https://www.hfpolicynetwork.org/project/heart-failure-policy-and-practice-in-europe/