26 October 2009
Anniversary and awards for innovative heart care team in Moray
An NHS Grampian team who provide innovative care for heart failure patients have reached their first anniversary and have won two Royal College of General Practitioner (RCGP) 2009 awards.
Mandy Davies, Community Heart Failure Specialist Nurse/Lead Practice Nurse, and Christine Thomson, Pharmacist Prescriber, are based at the Linkwood Medical Practice in the new Glassgreen Centre in Elgin, and developed the unusual heart failure clinic. The service has won the RCGP Scotland 'Practice Team Award' and the RCGP North East award for 'Innovation in Primary Care'.
"We believe our service is unique to Scotland, because we have a pharmacist prescriber trained to a significant level in heart failure and an in-house heart failure specialist nurse, who also works as a practice nurse. We provide a community-based, one stop clinic, delivering house calls and drug treatment," says Mandy.
"Early indications are that patients are living longer and don't need to be admitted to hospital as often, as a result of this service. At the same time the service releases our GPs to focus on acute care and diagnosis."
The duo developed the service in 2008, with support from their GP mentor Dr Garry Farquhar, as well as the local cardiologist and his hospital heart failure team. They also gained a university qualification in Heart Failure Management.
"We re-evaluated our management and treatment of patients with chronic diseases at the practice, to ensure the best evidence-based care was easily available. We knew from studies that early help for heart failure patients reduced the need for hospital admission and we wanted to put this into action for our patients in Elgin," says Christine.
"Developing the service involved compiling an accurate register of heart failure patients, which is 1-2% of the population, both nationally and at the practice. Members of the practice team became involved, for example, healthcare assistants and nurses conducting pre-clinic testing for blood and electrocardiograms, and it was a real team effort."
Since the clinic started, 140 patients have been helped. Clinic attendance is excellent and comments from patients and families have been very encouraging
How the heart failure patient service works:
Following diagnosis, patients are referred directly to the Linkwood heart failure clinic. The team provides an intensive lifestyle review and holistic heart failure education to both patients and their carers. Drug therapy is optimised and reviewed on a regular basis.
Patients benefit from being more informed about their condition and medication. This has led to more patients using their medication appropriately and improving their overall health and wellbeing.
"Having improved access to care and drug treatment, we hope our input has been beneficial in improving the long-term prognosis for all our patients," says Mandy.