Those being supported by the new service will be given equipment, including a device where they can input daily information such as their blood pressure. They will have a direct link to a team of clinicians who will help them to manage their condition at home while at the same time allowing them to get on with their lives.
The service will be available to people waiting for specialist cardiac surgery, coronary artery bypass grafts or valve replacement which takes place at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.
Due to launch this week, this new service has been developed by the Greater Manchester and Eastern Cheshire Cardiac Clinical Network, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and FCMS, a community healthcare provider. The equipment is being provided by Docobo who specialise in remote monitoring technology.
Professor Farzin Fath-Ordoubadi, consultant cardiologist said: “For people with complex cardiac conditions, remote monitoring, supplementary to clinical care, can potentially improve health outcomes.
“Thanks to this technology we are able to have a direct link with the patients and be able to early detect any deterioration in their health condition. Patients showing deterioration will be identified, prioritised, and offered support as appropriate.
“As the waiting list for life saving cardiac surgery has grown, we have to identify those patients who are deteriorating and offer earlier intervention when needed.”
Natalie Marsden from FCMS said: “We see this as a ‘safety net’ service while patients are waiting for their surgery, and so that patients have that point of contact. Because of the pandemic, a lot of people on cardiac waiting lists may have been deteriorating for some time and have not necessarily gone to the GP.
“We are already providing this service in Blackpool and we find that people get to grips with the service really quickly and get comfortable with it. We recently flagged up a patient who had really bad chest pain and shooting pains, we advised him to call 999 and escalated to a consultant.
“He only went to hospital because we were in touch with him. This was really helpful for the family as they felt reassured that this was followed up and we are there as a service.”
Tom Berry, directorate manager for cardiac surgery and transplant said: “We are really pleased to be involved in this project and are looking forward to it going live. The technology and processes involved will ensure we have regular and direct links with our patients, to be able to support them whilst they await treatment and with any early signs of a change in their condition.
“As is the case across the NHS, our waiting list has grown and this project will help us to identify patients who require earlier support or treatment. This project will also support our clinical teams and ensure their expertise is delivered to those patients in greatest need, enabling them to make or change plans in a timely manner. As a specialist referral centre for Cardiac Surgery, this is crucial.”
Dr Manisha Kumar, chief medical officer for NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care said: “I’m pleased that this project is now starting in Greater Manchester. Across the NHS we are working hard to tackle waiting list backlogs and to make sure patients receive the care they need in the right place, as quickly as possible. It is great to see initiatives like this designed to support people while they wait for surgery.”
Going forward, patients will be given the option to opt into the service at their initial consultation with the cardiac team. Their consultant will explain the benefits of the service and, should they choose to take part, the FCMS team will contact the patient to arrange the next steps
People living in Greater Manchester waiting for planned hospital care can also access general information and advice while they wait at www.whileyouwait.org.uk.