Ed Harding

Ed has worked for many years in the development of multi-disciplinary policy advocacy networks in health, and in health policy research and writing. He has led several high-level international collaborations in healthcare, many of which have achieved substantial public endorsement. He is a specialist at combining policy research and stakeholder engagement efforts into impactful and original political engagement. This involves working with senior figures in public life from a variety of backgrounds, typically in a highly competitive and often sensitive political environment. Formerly he has led several senior roles in government, NGO sector, and political campaigns.
 
Recent roles in the HPP portfolio include Programme Director, Heart Failure Policy Network (since 2015) and he has led other international HPP policy and research projects in osteoporosis and CVD risk factor management.
 

Covid-19 has proven a seismic event for our societies, and it is easy to forget that the pandemic will not dominate the debate on healthcare forever. Yet by any rational measure, efforts to manage long-term conditions will continue to be responsible for the majority of healthcare costs into the future. Heart failure (HF) is, and will remain, one of these crunch issues. Simply put, we have very little choice but to pursue the timely prevention and care of HF, due to the sheer scale of the disease and the high price attached to failure, both human and economic. HF occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs, resulting in a heavy physical and psychological burden. Outcomes are often poor, including mortality and quality of life. In fact, HF is the most common cause of hospital admissions in people over 65 and the leading contributor to unplanned hospital readmissions overall. Yet few political leaders across Europe appear to grasp that HF is a major battle ground for preventable morbidity, mortality and cost. Rapid access to effective diagnostics and the best use of diagnostic information are essential to reducing the burden of HF. Therefore, we welcome MedTech Europe’s case study exploring how the information generated by in vitro diagnostics can help to improve HF care, and in particular by cardiac biomarkers such as natriuretic peptides (NP testing). Unfortunately, the use of diagnostic information for HF is routinely suboptimal in many European countries. Poor multidisciplinary working, misdiagnosis, lack of capacity and inconsistent application frequently lead to harmful delays, meaning HF is often confirmed late, after severe damage to the heart has occurred. Bottlenecks are commonplace for echocardiography, the specialist-led ‘gold standard’ diagnostic test, and key tools such as NP testing are still not fully reimbursed or...