Fire and rescue services have increasingly focused on fire prevention and household safety in a bid to reduce domestic deaths and injuries in the home. Firefighters and non-operational prevention staff have shifted from conducting household fire safety visits – commonly known as HSFVs – to safe and well visits. Checking on health and wellbeing allows for the development of new partnerships between local health providers and fire and rescue services. In Cheshire, the fire and rescue service did just this and Dr Julian Clarke was asked to evaluate one aspect of the change of approach.
In 2016, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service was approached by and collaborated with the Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Groups and the NHS Innovation Agency (North West Coast) to add a test for atrial fibrillation as part of a safe and well visit to help save lives, principally amongst at risk older people aged 65 and over.
Atrial fibrillation is a cardiac arrythmia associated with a range of under-diagnosed and under-treated heart conditions, principally the occurrence of stroke. This article is based on a more detailed report published earlier this year that tries to estimate the value created by the addition of the offer of an atrial fibrillation check to safe and well visits carried out by Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service over the period April 2017 to March 2020.