Prevention is at the heart of the NHS Long Term Plan. In addition to substantial commitments to tackle obesity, alcohol and smoking, the Plan includes a major ambition to prevent 150,000 strokes and heart attacks over the next ten years by improving the treatment of the high-risk conditions – hypertension (high blood pressure), Hypercholesterolaemia (high cholesterol) and atrial fibrillation (AF).

Individuals with these common conditions are more at risk of developing  cardiovascular disease (CVD) which includes heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and many cases of dementia. Despite the impact of treatment on outcomes, large numbers of people are undiagnosed or under treated, partly because these conditions often have no symptoms, and partly because treatment decisions are complex.

To help tackle this, and to support the long term plan ambition, NHS England and NHS Improvement have commissioned a national primary care audit – CVDPREVENT.


CVDPREVENT is a national primary care audit that automatically extracts routinely held GP data covering diagnosis and management of six high risk conditions that cause stroke, heart attack and dementia: atrial fibrillation (AF), high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, non-diabetic hyperglycaemia and chronic kidney disease.

CVDPREVENT will provide a foundation for professionally led quality improvement in individual GP practices across Primary Care Networks (PCNs). It will support primary care in understanding how many patients with CVD and/or the high-risk conditions are potentially undiagnosed, or under or over treated. The audit will provide data to highlight gaps, identify inequalities, and opportunities for improvement. Progress made in improving the diagnosis and treatment of those at risk of CVD, will be monitored by the audit.

First CVD report and launch of the data and improvement tool

NHS Benchmarking Network has now published the first report from the CVDPREVENT audit. This highlights national opportunities for improvement in CVD prevention and treatment of high-risk CVD conditions using data from GP systems. Key findings include those diagnosed with hypertension in the working age population, particularly males, could be better managed and a focus is needed on people from Black ethnic minority groups in the management of hypertension. Read the full report here.

In addition to the report, a data and improvement tool is also available which will enable GPs and healthcare professionals to identify groups who could benefit most from quality improvement activity locally, and data can be compared against national and local benchmarks, which can be broken down by demographics. There’s also a hub of resources to support patients to manage their condition through lifestyle changes and treatment pathways.

Audit delivery

The first report presents analysis of GP recorded data for relevant patient cohorts up to March 2020 and therefore, provides a pre-pandemic baseline for indicators of CVD prevention. The second annual report will cover data to March 2021 and will be published in summer 2022, with biannual updates to follow.

Early development of the audit was overseen by the CVDPREVENT Implementation Steering Group which included representation from a wide range of partner organisations; including the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), NHS Digital, NICE,Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (formerly Public Health England), NHS England and NHS Improvement, British Heart Foundation, Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Primary Care Cardiovascular Society and GP representatives.

The oversight of the delivery is now led by a CVDPREVENT Steering Group chaired by Dr Shahed Ahmad, National Clinical Director, CVD Prevention and Dr Pete Green, GP at NHS Kent & Medway Clinical Commissioning Group is the clinical lead.

The audit is funded by NHS England and NHS Improvement via the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) initially for three years (Year 1, 2020/21). It will be delivered by the following organisations working in partnership:

  • NHS Digital have been directed by NHS England under section 254 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to establish and operate a system for the collection and analysis of the information specified for this service.
  • NCVIN- Office for Health Improvement and Disparities have been commissioned to deliver the analytical work package.
  • HQIP have commissioned NHS Benchmarking Network (NHSBN) to provide the strategic oversight and clinical leadership. NHSBN and the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities will work together to produce the intelligence outputs from the audit consulting widely with users.

For more detail on CVDPREVENT and updates on the progress of the audit please visit the NHSBN web page here:

If you have any queries about the audit, please email:

Latest update: March 2022