West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group, Norfolk Community Health & Care and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital teamed up with the British Heart Foundation for this event.

Specialist nurses from NCH&C were at the stand on the day from 9.15am to 3pm to offer advice and answer questions about heart health, and carry out free blood pressure and atrial fibrillation checks. Richard Conquest, the vice-chair of West Norfolk Heart Support Group, was also on hand to talk to patients about the benefits of joining this newly-formed support group for anyone with a heart condition.

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate. Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disturbance in the UK, and it’s estimated that around 1,500 people in West Norfolk have AF but aren’t aware of it.

The nurses from NCH&C said:

“Our event offered visitors to the hospital the chance to have a free atrial fibrillation and blood pressure test, and around 80 people took us up on it, which is fantastic. It’s a really quick test – you hold your fingertip to a heart rate monitor and find out if there’s anything you need to be concerned about. We also gave lots of advice on keeping your heart healthy – it was a very worthwhile day. We’re hoping to run another event like this soon, so look out for it.”

Chas Ryan, Acute Transformation Manager at West Norfolk CCG, said:

“Raising awareness of atrial fibrillation is a priority in West Norfolk, and we’re doing lots of work around it. It’s important we raise awareness of it as people who have AF are more at risk of having a stroke. We are currently running a pilot with some of our GP practices and the QEH’s stroke unit to reduce the time between diagnosis of AF and referral from 20 weeks to one. The pilot is proving a success, and we have plans to expand it to all our surgeries this year.”

Anyone who is concerned about atrial fibrillation, or their heart in general, should make an appointment with their GP.

West Norfolk Heart Support Group is run by and for anyone living with a heart condition. The group holds monthly meetings in Gaywood Church Rooms in King’s Lynn. Anyone who would like to find out more should call 01553 613543.