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Patient collaborations

Case study: Providing holistic support to newly diagnosed heart attack patients

Published: 21 Nov 2011

Patient collaborations

AZ’s patient support programme provided holistic support to newly diagnosed heart attack patients.

Client: AstraZeneca

Agency: Red Door Communications

Campaign: The Big Question

Timescale: January 2011 to April 2011

A quick look

Politicians, clinicians, journalists and patients gathered at the Houses of Parliament in March 2011 to hear why Britain lags behind its European neighbours when it comes to looking after people who have had heart attacks. The event launched a joint industry/professional and patient organisation report explaining how patient care can be improved without more funding from the Government. The Big Question – The Future of Acute Coronary Syndromes Patient Outcomes Report was then rolled out through media and direct stakeholder communication, reaching an estimated 4.6 million people by Easter.


Acute Coronary Syndromes (ACS) are characterised by a sudden blockage of a coronary artery which provides vital blood supply to the heart and includes myocardial infarction (MI) and unstable angina. Someone is admitted to hospital with chest pain or MI every four minutes in the UK, and each day 90 people die from an MI. Every year 1.5 million work days are lost through British workers recuperating from a heart attack or chest pain event. The financial impact on both the NHS and the economy is estimated to be £3.6 billion per year.

AstraZeneca (AZ) wanted to explore how current resources could be used more effectively to reduce the burden on health professionals and improve patient outcomes.


AZ joined forces with leading charities HEART UK, the British Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation (BACPR), and Anticoagulation Europe to develop a report outlining the way forward for ACS care. Specifically, the stakeholders wanted to build on the National Service Framework (NSF) for Coronary Heart Disease published in 2000 and launch a `call to action' for improved care by the end of this decade (2020). A five-point plan for all those responsible for providing cardiovascular health services was launched at the Houses of Parliament and the report distributed to politicians, healthcare professionals, patients and the media. The report's action plan was to:

  • Broaden access to cardiac rehabilitation
  • Improve discharge information
  • Maximise adherence to medication
  • Address psychological health.

AstraZeneca also launched a patient support programme at the event, providing holistic support to newly diagnosed heart attack patients.


  • Over 80 journalists, politicians, influential clinicians, NHS representatives, professional and patient groups attended the Houses of Parliament, to hear the international explorer and heart attack survivor Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Prof Roger Boyle CBE, National Director for Heart Disease and Stroke, launch the report (March 2011)
  • Over 300 copies of the report distributed to relevant clinical stakeholders and posted on key websites (distribution of the report is ongoing).

Client verdict

"While heart disease will always remain a significant burden to society, we wanted to identify ways to improve patient care and support their healthcare professionals and carers. By looking ahead at what care and treatment of heart patients in the year 2020 should look like, we can address those pertinent issues today. The development of the report and its launch at the Houses of Parliament enabled us to get closer to key clinicians and patient organisations and to genuinely collaborate for the benefit of patient care."

Sameena Conning, Head of Communications Primary Care, AstraZeneca

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