Skip to main content Skip to footer

New cholesterol project to reduce hospital readmissions at UHNM

A new project at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM) is helping to reduce hospital readmissions in heart attack, stroke and vascular patients.

The Lipid Optimisation Project identifies existing high-risk patients at UHNM and works with them to improve their cholesterol levels.

More than 50 patients have so far benefitted from the one-year initiative, the first of its kind in Staffordshire, which has been funded by NHS England.

Dr Biju Jose, Consultant Endocrinologist at UHNM leading the project, said: “Cardiovascular disease places a huge burden on the NHS and has a profound effect on both the physical and mental health of patients.

“The aim of the project is to reduce the cardiovascular risk to patients who have already suffered a heart attack, stroke or an ischaemic limb, as once you’ve had one of these events your risk of having another goes up exponentially. By addressing the risk factors for cardiovascular disease, like diabetes and high cholesterol, we can reduce the risk of patients having further problems in the future and aim to keep them out of hospital.

“We identify patients from specialist clinics across UHNM including stroke and TIA, cardiology and vascular, as well as linking in with primary care colleagues to identify those who would benefit from further cholesterol reduction.

“The project is progressing well, and we are proud to say we’ve seen good outcomes with the cholesterol levels and parameters in the lipid profile of patients involved.”

Helen Wrightson, Advanced Specialist Pharmacist for General Medicine, Diabetes and Endocrinology and Lipid Pharmacist at UHNM said: “Prior to the project, patients being discharged from these hospital specialist clinics after an acute event would be referred back to their GP with instructions to monitor and improve their cholesterol. However, there is considerable variation in practice across the county leading to health inequalities.

“As part of the project, after being identified as high-risk for cardiovascular disease in these specialist services, eligible patients are invited into a newly established specialist cholesterol clinic to discuss how to improve their cholesterol. In addition to changes to medication, we provide personalised lifestyle advice on things such as smoking, diet, alcohol, and exercise, empowering them to make positive lifestyle changes to improve their overall health.”

The project also aims to improve local health deprivation and inequalities, providing an Advice and Guidance portal to four primary care networks.

Helen added: “I’m proud of the collaborative work we’ve done to have set up a whole new service, and how we are already beginning to look at the long-term vision for it. Speciality clinics at UHNM have all been incredibly supportive of the project, as have our local primary care partners.”

One of the patients to benefit from the project is Mahmood Moslemi from Stafford.

The 68-year-old was rushed to UHNM by his wife after finding it difficult to breathe and required a triple heart bypass operation.

He now credits the lipid optimisation project for helping to bring his cholesterol levels back to normal through a new diet and exercise routine and change in medication.

Mahmood said: “One morning in December 2021 I realised that I couldn’t breathe. I had a bad case of angina. I needed heart surgery, and was placed under the care of Mr Warwick, cardiothoracic surgeon, who performed a triple heart bypass; I owe a great debt of gratitude to him. The whole cardiology and cardiothoracic wards at UHNM were exceptional, and it was a humbling experience to see the way the staff worked there. After I was discharged, I made reasonable progress, but for various reasons I wasn’t able to keep up with my diet and exercise regime that I had been practicing for a few months, so there was a deterioration in my health, particularly with my diabetes and cholesterol levels”.

“I attended the Lipid Optimisation Project, and it was explained to me there was to be some changes in my medication”.

“During my latest visit I was shown my test results and couldn’t believe what I saw, it was miraculous. Everything, particularly my cholesterol, was back to normal, and my blood glucose levels had improved significantly. They caught me just at the right time, because had the deterioration gone on, I think there would have been disastrous consequences. The staff were so nice and understanding and helpful in the way that they explained everything to me.”