Case study from Heart failure policy and practice in Europe

Rapid access pathways for heart failure in the Midlands, England

17 November, 2020

The West Leicestershire Clinical Commissioning Group launched a Rapid Access Heart Failure Service in 2014 to reduce hospitalisations for heart failure.1 The service has since been adopted by the Clinical Commissioning Groups for Leicester City and East Leicestershire and Rutland.

The Rapid Access Heart Failure Service supports timely referral from primary care to an heart failure outpatient clinic – GPs can refer people with suspected heart failure or signs of heart failure deterioration for a review with a cardiologist within 72 hours. Based on this review, people are monitored and treated as outpatients and, if needed, admitted to hospital for additional care.1 People living with heart failure can also be referred to an Ambulatory Heart Failure Clinic for further monitoring and support following hospital discharge.2

A review of the Rapid Access Heart Failure Service found that it substantially reduced hospitalisations and mortality.3 Similarly, the Ambulatory Heart Failure Clinic was shown to reduce the rate of readmissions in the 30 days following hospital discharge.3


  1. Mattock L. 2016. Heart Failure Service expanded across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. Available from: [Accessed 09/09/20]
  2. Tay K, Clayton L, D’Souza R, et al. 2020. P247: Audit of acute heart failure patients discharged within 24 hours: comparison of referral to ambulatory heart failure clinic (AHFC) versus standard care. Eur J Heart Fail 22(S1): 21
  3. Chan D, Clayton L, Bhattacharya A, et al. 2020. P1196 Timely heart failure specialist input with urgent heart failure clinic reduces death or all-cause hospitalisation in a real-world cohort. Eur J Heart Fail 22(S1): 199
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