National Cardiac Audit Programme

The National Cardiac Audit Programme (NCAP) comprises 11 specialty domains, each of which is focuses on a particular cardiovascular disease area or treatment. The aim is to deliver better outcomes for patients, both in terms of their chances of survival and the experience they have while being cared for. Each domain provides a background to the national picture and presents findings on how these are changing.

NCAP Annual Report 2023: Time is of the essence: delays and waits need urgent action.

This year’s report focuses on the impact on cardiovascular care as services start to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The main focus is on the time delays and waits for treatments. As we have learnt to accept and understand COVID-19, assisted by vaccine-induced and natural immunity, the healthcare services are also in recovery, aiming to reach pre-pandemic levels of activity and meet national targets.

The report, called “Time is of the essence: delays and waits need urgent action” covers the 12 months from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022, during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic and records the initial recovery of NHS hospital services for patients with cardiovascular disease.

The NHS continues to face huge challenges two years after the onset of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients are experiencing delays and waits to access treatment, which is potentially having a detrimental effect on patients, staff and the families and/or carers of patients.

The Annual Report is accompanied by supporting reports from six sub-specialties covered by the audit programme and a dedicated Annual Report for Patients, Carers and the Public, which was co-written by the NICOR Patient Representative Group Chair, Sarah Murray, and patient representative Richard Corder and includes patient experiences during the recovery period.

John Deanfield CBE, NICOR Director said: “As we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, this report highlights the important message on the need to urgently address the delays and wait times currently being seen across the delivery of cardiovascular care.

“It is hoped this report will prove very helpful and will help inform local NHS organisations and national policy priorities required for cardiovascular patients, carers and NHS staff.”

For more information about NCAP and the 11 domains, visit the About Us section.

National Cardiac Audit Programme Sub-Speciality Audits

Learn about progress in diagnosis and treatment

The treatment of heart conditions continues to evolve and this report describes a number of key developments to enable an understanding of what constitutes high quality care.

See how improvements in services are changing outcomes for patients

The key aim of service improvement is to deliver better outcomes for patients, both in terms of their chances of survival and the experience they have while being cared for, and the report presents findings on how these are changing. With improved survival rates, emphasis is shifting to other measures that are important to patients and which can be used to audit change over time.

Find out the results for particular hospitals and clinicians

The findings in this aggregate report are presented at a national level. This should allow stakeholders to understand both where advances have been made to deliver quality improvement and remaining challenges. In reading this document it will be clear that many of the issues are common to the different types of heart disease and management. However, there is important information specific to individual cardiac conditions that are also of great interest. This report will enable an interested person to work from the improvement questions to the specific area of interest in a seamless and efficient way. More detailed information of the performance of a particular hospital (or to compare hospitals) is provided using links to the full ‘granular’ data analyses for each audit throughout the report. For the vast majority of hospitals, the results are reassuring and patients, providers and commissioners can have confidence in the quality of their local services. For some hospitals, however, there are elements of service delivery that could be improved and the audit data can point to where improvements can be made.

Two of the audits (Angioplasty and Adult Surgery) provide data on the performance of individual ‘operators’ (i.e. the surgeons or cardiologists undertaking the procedure).  While individual performance is dependent on a number of external factors, including ‘case mix’ and institutional/team characteristics, these data are of great interest to patients and the public and the results can form part of the annual appraisal that all practising medical professionals undertake.

Some of the cardiovascular services covered are funded by regional commissioners but many are highly specialised and are commissioned nationally. This report and the supporting hospital-level data provide a means of establishing how providers are performing and will aid local, regional and national discussions on service delivery.

Become more familiar with the nature of the conditions

A summary of the cardiovascular diseases and related treatments are included in Appendix A of the NCAP 2018 Annual Report.

Understand how audit data comes together and how the analysis works

The organisation of the national audits and the methodology used in producing results are explained in Appendix B of the NCAP 2018 Annual Report.

Earlier Reports