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HSE launches advisory group on use of oral anticoagulants

Preparatory work for the group, which will meet for the first time in October, has included a survey of hospitals nationwide.

The survey hopes to find out what services are available, how many patients are attending clinics and what changes have occurred in services in recent years.

“The survey was distributed electronically to 40 acute hospitals, 34 of whom have replied to date. The team is following up with the hospitals which have not yet replied. The returns from the survey are currently being analysed, additional information and clarification is being sought from a small number of hospitals,” a HSE spokesperson stated.

“The information requested includes the number of patients attending each clinic session, the number of attendances per week, the number of clinic sessions per week, the number of new patients registered in 2016, the total number of patients registered with the clinic at the end of 2016 and details regarding staffing, governance and clinical aspects.”

Data collection and analysis is due for completion at the end of September. The terms of reference for the group are at an advanced stage but have yet to be finalised.

The HSE spokesperson said the HSE does not have up-to-date figures for the current number of patients on warfarin, as there is no single way of recording them.

“The information available, however, would suggest that the number of people on the newer agents continues to increase, while the proportion of anticoagulated patients taking warfarin is declining,” the spokesperson added.

Earlier this year however, the HSE said that the number of individuals on warfarin therapy has fallen from around 35,000 in 2013 to 24,000 in 2016, with numbers continuing to reduce monthly.

At the time, the HSE added that around 34,000 individuals were on the more expensive DOACs such as apixaban, dabigatran, edoxaban and rivaroxaban.

Last year, the HSE Acute Hospitals Division discussed plans to close warfarin clinics but according to the HSE, it has no plans to close warfarin clinics and any decisions to do so have been taken locally.

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