Heart failure services in the United Kingdom: rethinking the machine bureaucracy

Int J Cardiol. 2013 Jan 20;162(3):143-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2011.10.144. Epub 2011 Dec 3.


Poor outcomes and poor uptake of evidence based therapies persist for patients with heart failure in the United Kingdom. We offer a strategic analysis of services, defining the context, organization and objectives of the service, before focusing on implementation and performance. Critical flaws in past service development and performance are apparent, a consequence of failed performance management, policy and political initiative. The barriers to change and potential solutions are common to many health care systems. Integration, information, financing, incentives, innovation and values: all must be challenged and improved if heart failure services are to succeed. Modern healthcare requires open adaptive systems, continually learning and improving. The system also needs controls. Performance indicators should be simple, clinically relevant, and outcome focused. Heart failure presents one of the greatest opportunities to improve symptoms and survival with existing technology. To do so, heart failure services require radical reorganization.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Delivery of Health Care / trends
  • Disease Management
  • Heart Failure / epidemiology*
  • Heart Failure / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Thinking*
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology