Boehringer backs NHS trust programme for diabetics

Boehringer backs NHS trust programme for diabetics

An alliance between German pharma group Boehringer Ingelheim and an NHS trust in the UK has been launched with the aim of reducing recurring heart attacks in people with diabetes.

The partnership with United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) revolves around a new cardio-diabetic outpatient service that promises to provide a one-stop approach to the care of patients with diabetes who have had a recent heart attack.

Cardiovascular-related complications are common in people with diabetes and – according to the British Heart Foundation – having diabetes increases the risk of dying from the effects of a heart attack by around 50%.

One of the key objectives of the alliance is to make sure patients are treated for both diabetes and heart attack or acute coronary syndrome (ACS) at the same time, streamlining their care.

Prior studies at the trust suggested that some patients were being treated for the conditions separately, causing delays with repeated reviews, and missed opportunities for better care. In Lincolnshire, around one in three (33%) patients with diabetes have a recorded history of cardiovascular disease, which is higher than the average of 29% observed for England.

The alliance has grown out of a joint working project between Boehringer and ULHT, first started in November 2022, that was set up to test a new model of care for patients with type 2 diabetes who also develop an ACS.

The result is closer collaboration between cardiology advanced clinical practitioners (ACPs) and junior and middle-grade doctors – supported by a consultant cardiologist, diabetologist, and a clinical research fellow – to provide a ‘joined-up approach’ to the cardio-diabetic programme during ward reviews, according to the partners.

Boehringer told pharmaphorum that its involvement with the programme is to provide project management, medical support and expertise, communication support, and “value and outcomes” expertise, as well as part funding for the cardio-diabetes clinical research fellow post.

The programme is another example of pharma companies going ‘beyond the pill‘ in their interactions with health systems – digital, financial, or care-based, for example – contributing to a holistic approach to patient care.

The new pathway can also help to alleviate pressure on primary care networks by providing improved care in an acute setting, before handing over to GP services, according to the partners.

“Before launching the new service, we knew that many patients [with ACS] and existing or newly diagnosed diabetes were not always being followed up in the separate cardiology or diabetes clinic, or by their GPs in primary care, in a timely manner, nor had their cardiovascular-diabetic treatment subsequently optimised after being discharged,” remarked Professor Kelvin Lee, consultant interventional cardiologist and director of the cardiovascular research programme at ULHT.

“Our partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim has allowed us to use our existing staff, and has included a focus on educating and training our cardiac ACPs, and adapting our current processes to provide a better service for our patients.”