Improving Cardiovascular Disease Outcomes: Insights from Barry Todd

13th May 2024

Over the last five years, Health Innovation North East and North Cumbia (HI NENC) has worked with partners to improve health outcomes for people living with cardiovascular disease (CVD). By working together we are driving real change and helping the people of the North East and North Cumbria to live longer, healthier lives.

As part of our CVD prevention programme, we have appointed Barry Todd as our new Clinical Champion for CVD Prevention in Primary Care. Barry is a recently retired pharmacist with over 40 years’ experience working across primary, secondary and community care.

In this piece, Barry shares insights about his work to optimise lipids across Wallsend Primary Care Network (PCN) and tells us more about how he hopes to use his expertise and specialist knowledge to improve CVD outcomes on a wider footprint.

I retired at the end of March having worked as a Pharmacist in the hospital sector for 10 years, as a Community Pharmacist for 14 years and for the last 20 years as a Primary Care Pharmacist working as part of the clinical team, mainly though not exclusively at Village Green, Wallsend. I’ve always wanted to do a good job but never saw myself as a HI – flyer (pun intended!) The last two and a half years have created opportunities that I could never have imagined. Who was HI NENC and what was their agenda? They opened my eyes to the appalling statistics relating to avoidable cardiovascular events and deaths. And what about all the new lipid lowering therapies like bempedoic acid, ezetimibe and inclisiran which could support clinicians like me to manage cholesterol at scale? Enter the concept of population health management and more to the point….I thought this is something that my newly recruited PCN clinical pharmacy team could get stuck in to.

Our motto was ‘let’s make a difference to the health of Wallsend by being early adopters of inclisiran prescribing.’ Little did I know that this would lead to HI NENC’s CVD prevention team knocking on my door and changing this into a ‘Let’s get everyone’s ‘bad’ cholesterol to target’ project, well at least anyone with established vascular disease. Across Wallsend PCN, we have reviewed and optimised hundreds of patients’ treatment regimes.

It’s been an amazing journey and has meant finishing my career on a real high with opportunities to wave the lipid optimisation flag through live speaking engagements, webinars, helping to shape educational materials nationally and through personal contacts. How can I retire when there is so much work to do?

So I was thrilled when I was asked by HI NENC to be their Clinical Champion for Cardiovascular Prevention in Primary Care. Why me? Well apparently I can bring additional insights as to what actually happens at the primary care coalface – another dimension which will feed into the excellent work that our CVD Prevention team are doing.

The next big focus is chronic kidney disease (CKD) – a condition which has another set of appalling local and national statistics and a landscape of poor management – the ‘cinderella of cardiovascular disease prevention’. What an exciting challenge to work on with stakeholders across the region in order to make a difference across our patch.

And it is this that I want others to share in the passion. Vastly under diagnosed because primary care are not testing urine in our most at-risk patients. Undertreated because even those with a diagnosis of CKD aren’t being monitored effectively and being offered the best treatment. And because of this far too many are ending up on dialysis that could have been avoided.

So a lot of soapbox work to do but wow, what an organisation I’m now working for! Folk who have a real heart for making things happen and making a difference to improve health outcomes for people living with cardiovascular disease in the North East and North Cumbria – thanks for having me!

Other resources

CVD resources for healthcare professionals

Lipids and FH handbook and SOP

NEELI guidelines

National lipid management pathway

CVD education videos