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GPs face heart failure review

GPs will face new scrutiny of their heart failure care from next month after the Government's NHS watchdog announced an 'improvement review'.

The Healthcare Commission said it would be examining

diagnostic procedures and whether GPs were treating patients in accordance with NICE guidelines.

A previous review by the commission indicated progress in meeting heart failure standards had lagged behind other areas of heart disease care.

The commission will monitor whether patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction receive recommended levels of ACE inhibitors and ?-blockers and whether echocardiography is used effectively for diagnosis.

GPs warned problems with diagnosis were key to the problems they faced on heart failure.

Dr Pravin Shah, a GP in Stoke-on-Trent and CHD and diabetes lead for South Stoke PCT, said: 'The services required for them to be diagnosed are not as quick as they should be.'

Dr John Pittard, a GP in Staines, Middlesex, and CHD lead at North Surrey PCT, said: 'It's very hard to diagnose and half the time you are wrong. We need a simple bedside test to differentiate between patients with and without heart failure.'

The review will focus on PCTs where progress has been slowest, and will also collect data from acute trusts.

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