Andrew Gwynne is lending his support to a new campaign aimed at giving long-term warfarin patients greater choice in the management of their condition.
The AntiCoagulation Self Monitoring Alliance (ACSMA) officially launched its campaign at a parliamentary reception in Westminster.
There are more than 1.2 million people in the UK on warfarin, but fewer than two per cent of them benefit from self-monitoring, despite evidence that it can cut the risk of death by nearly two-fifths and more than halve the risk of strokes. ACSMA is launching a new campaign with the specific objective of achieving greater access via prescription to International Normalised Ratio (INR) self-monitoring technology for patients receiving warfarin therapy. The alliance is also seeking to raise awareness of the benefits of self-monitoring and aims to ensure that patients are equipped to have informed discussions with their healthcare professionals on this topic.
Andrew Gwynne MP said:
“I am delighted to lend my support to this important campaign. For patients on long-term warfarin treatment, being able to self-monitor their clotting levels and adjust their dose allows the individual to have better control over their life, and enjoy greater freedom and independence. It is right that we should encourage the NHS to make innovative technologies like self-monitoring equipment available to suitable patients based on need, not ability to pay. Managing care at home is convenient for patients and has the potential to improve health outcomes and save the service money.”
ACSMA comprises four of the UK’s leading charities and patient groups – AntiCoagulation Europe; the Children’s Heart Federation; the Atrial Fibrillation Association; the Mechanical Heart Valve Support Group – that exist to provide advice, support and guidance to patients on oral anticoagulation therapy, as well as their families and healthcare professionals. Healthcare company Roche is also part of the alliance.
Anne Keatley-Clarke, Chief Executive of the Children’s Heart Federation said: “Children with heart conditions have to miss a great deal of school to travel to hospital to have their INR levels checked, which is a disruption in their already difficult lives. Parents may also be prevented from going back to work and there are significant travel costs.”
Eve Knight, Chief Executive and Co-founder of AntiCoagulation Europe said:
“The goal of the Alliance is for patients to have sufficient information to enable them to have a greater choice in the management of their anticoagulation therapy. We believe that patients should be able to choose whether to self-monitor.”
The alliance will be running a programme to influence and shape a positive political and NHS environment that encourages and supports self-monitoring of anticoagulation therapy in those patients for whom it is suitable and appropriate. A series of regional events throughout the UK is planned with the aim of bringing together key figures from the new NHS, government and also current warfarin users. These regional meetings will provide a forum to share best practice and experience around the barriers faced by warfarin patients who wish to self-monitor.
Andrew Gwynne added:
“There are approximately 1,690 adults and children in Denton & Reddish who are receiving warfarin treatment. Allowing them the option to self-monitor could make a huge difference to their lives, minimising the disruption and inconvenience, as well as saving time and money.”