19 November 2020
A local NHS service for patients with heart problems has been nationally recognised for its outstanding contribution to healthcare. East Sussex’s Community Cardiology Service is a finalist for the title of ‘Community Provider of the Year’ in the Health Services Journal (HSJ) awards.
The Community Cardiology Service was selected from over 1000 entries by a judging panel made up of highly influential figures within the healthcare community including Sir Bruce Keogh, the former NHS Medical Director. The judges were impressed by the service’s ambition, visionary spirit and its positive impact on patients and staff.
The Community Cardiology Service investigates patients who have a suspected heart condition. Usually this would mean having tests carried out in hospital, but the local service runs clinics in the community so that patients can be diagnosed and treated more quickly and near to where they live. During the Coronavirus pandemic, the service went a step further and brought heartcare right into patients’ homes. While the doctors conducted most of their consultations by telephone and video, they still needed to carry out tests to monitor their patients’ heart activity. The safest way for these monitors to be fitted was for the service’s Cardiographers to visit patients at home. This not only prevented long delays to diagnosis and treatment, but also reassured patients that they were being cared for.
Cardiographer Debbie McIvor who fits the heart monitors said:
“Patients find it reassuring when we arrive dressed in PPE and welcome us into their homes. Many of them have not seen or spoken directly to another person for weeks and they genuinely appreciate a trained health professional showing them how the monitor works and what it tells us about their heart’s health. I feel our service is so much more than fitting a heart monitor.”
Patients’ appreciation of the Community Cardiology Service is echoed by the local healthcare community, including Professor Nik Patel, Consultant Cardiologist and lead for Cardiovascular Medicine. He said:
“Even though many patients were too scared to come to hospital during the pandemic, we could have been overwhelmed at an extremely challenging time. The Community Cardiology Service has exemplified the spirit of collaboration and innovation ensuring that our local patients continue to receive excellent cardiac care.”
Dr Matt Jackson, GP and Director of the Community Cardiology Service, said:
“We are absolutely delighted that our small local service is in the running for such a prestigious award. I’m so proud of our team – everyone has made a huge effort to keep the service running during the pandemic and as a result many patients have been reassured that they are cared for and their heart problem is being appropriately treated.”
The final judging for the HSJ Awards takes place in March 2021.