the Pumping Marvellous Foundation, the UK’s only heart failure patient support charity, celebrated the successful launch of its Marvellous Mentors programme in Manchester on Wednesday.

This patient-led educational programme aims to elevate heart failure diagnosis and treatment within both the clinical community and the general public.

Cardiovascular disease is particularly prevalent in Manchester, with the second highest death rates in the UK for under 75s, along with as many as 920,000 people living with heart failure across the UK.

To address this issue, the Pumping Marvellous Foundation worked together with GMHSCP to develop a collaboration that uses patient-power to educate primary care teams about heart failure.

Marvellous Mentors is a trailblazing initiative leading the way in innovative solutions to address NHS challenges, and further, demonstrating the benefits of a devolved healthcare system that enables health and social care organisations to work together more closely.

A choir, led by Simply Singing and including members from the heart failure community, hosted a celebration of the initiative outside the headquarters of the GMHSCP .

The programme itself was delivered over three meetings, in Manchester, Stockport and Bolton, involving practice nurses, primary care nurses, GPs and community matrons. Sessions were run by senior cardiologists, specialist nurses as well as patients themselves, with the overall objective to increase the awareness of heart failure.

This was achieved through highlighting how the condition is often mis-diagnosed in primary care, with symptoms similar to common conditions, such as asthma.

Additionally, the meetings promoted the use of a simple blood test for natriuretic peptides, which serves as an indicator of heart failure, enabling a more efficient diagnosis.

The programme further aimed to enhance the understanding of how to manage heart failure when patients come back into primary care, relieving the pressure on specialist nurses, and enabling care to be brought closer to home – something that was set out as an aim in the NHS Five Year Forward View.

Reanne White, Community Nurse at Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, who attended one of the meetings, said “I see many people with heart failure in my day-to-day work, but they are often later in their disease journey. Attending the Marvellous Mentors session has been extremely valuable, I now have a better understanding of how to recognise signs of heart failure, leading to faster diagnoses, with the potential to save lives. Having training delivered by actual patients as well as specialists is the way forward in educating the clinical community. I look forward to sharing my learnings with colleagues and being able to personally develop my understanding in heart failure.”

The programme was born out of findings from a 2018 Heart Failure Specialist Nurse Audit, which highlighted the variation in heart failure service provision across Greater Manchester.

Aware of the time and budget implications of recruiting and training specialist nurses, the Pumping Marvellous Foundation decided to look for ways that they could work with the NHS to boost their offering and create something that was not only effective in addressing this variation in care, but that would also be sustainable.

“It is important that as nurse’s we take the time to understand what “health” means to a person and what is most appropriate for them and their family or community. “Wellbeing” and living with a long-term condition like heart failure is not only determined by personal factors of health and a person’s sense of purpose in life, but also by the quality of relationships, power of local community, and the environment in which they work and live. Our primary care nurses in Greater Manchester are in the privileged position to translate the caring ethic of our profession in partnership with this amazing charity” said Louise Brady, Primary Care and Community Nurse Lead at GMHSCP.

Nick Hartshorne-Evans, CEO of the charity and the initiator of the idea, said “This innovative programme shows how important working in partnership is for education in healthcare. It sets a precedent for how similar programmes could be run elsewhere in the country – in cardiovascular disease and other therapy areas, particularly long-term conditions which require care and treatment from healthcare professionals over a lengthy period of time. The recently updated NICE Chronic Heart Failure guidelines for adults emphasises the role and impact of multi-disciplinary care in the treatment pathway, and Marvellous Mentors feeds in well to this in practice.”

He added, “Through both our partnership with GMHSCP and the ones we’ve created between patients and healthcare professionals, an innovative solution that benefits the NHS, without impacting on resources, has been developed. No voice speaks louder than populations who empower themselves to do better with what they have.”


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