The NHS has contracted a life-saving drug treatment that could prevent more than 5,000 deaths a year.
An agreement to expand the use of drugs to prevent blood clots in healthcare will also prevent more than 20,000 strokes, its director said.
Medicines called anticoagulants will be given to 610,000 patients over the next three years, starting in January 2022.
Conventional treatment to prevent blood clots requires patients to see a GP or hospital regularly, but with new drugs, patients only need to go to the hospital once a year.
In April this year, the drug regulator, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence, recommended offering anticoagulants to those at high risk of stroke, such as those with atrial fibrillation that has an irregular or abnormally high heart rate.
NHS chief Amanda Pritchard also said more than 5,000 patients have been given wearable devices that can diagnose potentially fatal heart disease by monitoring a patient’s heart rate using artificial intelligence.
Helen Williams, NHS’s National Specialist for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in the UK, said: “Stroke is not only one of the biggest killers in our country, There is a risk of stroke.
Speaking at a conference organized by NHS Providers representing NHS funds, Pritchard said: “NHS contracts in England will save thousands of lives and prevent many others from suffering the debilitating effects of stroke by making this treatment available to hundreds of thousands more patients.
“Health services now have proven significant contracts with manufacturers to ensure that patients in the UK receive top-notch care at the price that offers the best value for taxpayers.
“As we rise from the pandemic, address emerging treatment bottlenecks and continue the momentum of the NHS’s Covid vaccination program, we are also determined to deliver more innovation and improve patient care.”
Addressing the pressures facing the NHS this winter, Pritchard said units faced an “unparalleled winter” and thanked staff for their hard work during the pandemic.
However, he said it was “unfair” to ask his staff to continue working so hard and that the NHS needed a workforce plan to get the right level of staff to provide quality care.
When asked what else the government could do to support the NHS through the winter, he said the success of the NHS is “inextricably linked” to social care.
“Right now, we have thousands of patients in the hospital that we know can go home, but they need social care support to do so, any support going to social care is support for the NHS.”
His remarks on social welfare came after NHS Providers called on the government to take “emergency action” and provide cash bonuses to social welfare staff.
Last week Independent The reported nursing homes had to refuse NHS repatriation requests because staff shortages were due to the fact that their staff had to be fully vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus.