Cardiovascular disease remains a major cause of death in Northern Ireland. With the improvement in survival after myocardial infarction and an ageing population the incidence of heart failure and atrial fibrillation are rising by around 3% per year. The presenting symptoms of these conditions are breathlessness and palpitations and early identification of patients with these conditions is vital to improve prognosis and avoid hospitalisation.

An audit of referrals from GP’s to cardiology demonstrated that 41% of referrals consist of palpitations, suspected heart failure and atrial fibrillation. 

The network is aimed at GP’s and aims to: 

  • Increase effectiveness of primary assessment, including symptoms to look out for and investigations to carry out
  • Improve the interface between primary and secondary care, defining referral criteria
  • Facilitate the management of stable long term heart conditions in community clinics or enhanced primary care


14 December – Atrial Fibrillation

11 January – Palpitations

25 January – Heart Failure

8 February – Chest Pain

22 February – Inherited Cardiac Disease

8 March – Syncope / Faints and Funny Turns

22 March – Hypertension

5 April – Assessing Risk

26 April – Anticoagulation