A recent article in the Daily Mail revealed that a study by Oxford University found female patients receive ‘sub optimal care’ when it comes to diagnostic tests, prescriptions and follow-up appointments.
The research was led by Dr Nathalie Conrad, a PhD student who focuses on the epidemiology of cardiovascular diseases.
‘Heart failure is a severe condition and early diagnosis is crucial for doctors to rapidly initiate life-saving medications,’ Dr Conrad said.
‘Our findings suggest out-of-hospital screening for early signs of heart failure and follow-up are sub-optimal.
‘And women and older patients are particularly vulnerable to these shortcomings in current heart failure care.’
Heart failure is more common than the four most prevalent cancers in the UK combined. According to research, it affects more than 900,000 people in the UK.
The researchers had reason to believe ‘significant gaps exist between guideline-directed practice and clinical practice’.
To get to the bottom of this, they analysed 93,000 anonymous health records from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, which collects patient data from a network of GP practices across the UK.
The researchers opined that the level of care the patients received was inadequate, particularly for females and people over 75.
Researchers also noted a lack of adequate record keeping by their GP but it was felt that this may be in part due to a lack of communication forthcoming from the hospital.
Going forward, I hope that the gaps identified in terms of care will be actioned within the NHS in respect of both GPs and hospitals.
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