BNSSG Healthier Together

Innovate Healthier Together Lunch and Learn Series: Innovation in preventative care and early intervention to increase life expectancy


By the Innovate Healthier Together Programme team

Hosted by Dr Febin Basheer, GP and Clinical Lead for Health Innovation West of England, the Lunch and Learn session hosted on 25 May explored innovation in preventative care and early intervention to increase life expectancy, with a particular focus on the detection of Familial Hypercholesterolemia through Child Parent Screening.

Dr Paul Downie, Consultant Chemical Pathologist at University Hospitals Bristol, and Weston NHS Foundation Trust and Specialist Cardiovascular Disease advisor for Health Innovation West of England, presented the NHS Long Term Plan ambition to reduce Cardiovascular Disease related deaths by 150,000 by 2030 as Cardiovascular Disease is the most common cause of premature mortality in England.

One means of doing so is through the identification and detection of Familial Hypercholesterolemia – a genetically inherited condition that causes high cholesterol. Familial Hypercholesterolemia affects 1 in 250 and 90% of patients with it remain undiagnosed. It is associated with premature Cardiovascular Disease related events unless identified and managed.

Using the current model of detection for Familial Hypercholesterolemia identifying 25% of cases will take 35 years, however by adding in structured Child Parent Screening to primary care settings this is reduced to 15 years.

Child Parent Screening was first identified as a means of detecting Familial Hypercholesterolemia by Dr Professor Wald in 2016. Children are offered a heel prick test as part of their first-year immunisation appointment within primary care. If their cholesterol is above the stated threshold they can be sent for genetic testing. Not only does this confirm or exclude a diagnosis for the child but supports cascade testing for the family should a positive FH result be identified.

Paul shared that the West of England is leading in testing for Child Parent Screening nationally, having screened 454 children to date. 441 of these have been screened within practices across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, that have been early adopters of this process for detection.

Read more about the Child Parent Screening Pilot on the Health Innovation West of England website

Watch the recording of the May Lunch and Learn session

We are finalising the plans for the next lunch and learn session which focusses on systemic factors influencing health-related behaviours and how innovation can promote healthier lifestyles.