i-HEART celebrates first anniversary
A unique service which for the first time offers Barnsley residents access to GP and nurse appointments 7 days a week is setting its sights on helping more people in the town this winter after delivering more than 20,000 medical consultations during its first year.
Launched in November 2015, this month sees the first anniversary of the town’s i-HEART Barnsley service, which was developed by Barnsley Healthcare Federation to provide patients with access to telephone and face-to-face consultations with GPs and nurses every week day evening and weekends.
The innovative service is the first of its kind to be available in Barnsley and created with the aim of creating more capacity for patients to see a GP, has also had a positive effect on reducing non-emergency hospital attendances. Since the service was launched more than 2,500 patients who would have previously visited A&E have been able to take advantage of the services provided by i-HEART, helping to reduce hospital attendances by an average of 50 patients per week.
Clinical advice is provided from 9am until 9pm weekdays, with telephone or face to face appointments from 6pm until 10pm, 9am until 1pm Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays, with telephone and face to face appointments from 10am until 12:30 pm.
Since opening its doors i-HEART has received positive patient feedback; 94% of patients have rated the service as either “good” or “excellent”, whilst 95% of patients saying they would recommend the service to friends or families.
Linda Cottrell, service manager, i-HEART said:
“Since i-HEART opened its doors for the first time, we’ve helped thousands of people across Barnsley who were unsure where to turn for medical advice. The service was launched to help reduce patient waiting times by offering an alternative way of providing medical advice and the response we’ve received has been extremely positive.
“During the winter months demand for appointments can often be high, particularly for non-emergency conditions such as common colds and flu-like symptoms. i-HEART enables patients to receive help and medical advice outside of standard surgery opening hours, which helps to reduce patient waiting times and enable treatment to be received when its needed most.
“We have received a lot of positive comments from patients and we are urging people to think twice before heading to A&E, especially when it comes to obtaining advice for non-emergencies.”
Jim Logan, Chief Executive, Barnsley Healthcare Federation said:
“Since i-HEART was launched a year ago, it has established itself as a clear alternative for people in Barnsley who would have otherwise had no choice but to visit A&E for out-of-hours medical advice. The feedback received from patients has been encouraging, and the number of patients using this service has increased every month
“We are getting ready to launch a new video-based consultation service which will enable patients to obtain advice from qualified GPs and nurses from the comfort of their own home and we hope to roll out the service further over the next few months.
“As we approach winter, typically a time of year when demand on GP services increases, it is important to be able to access medical advice, whether it’s simply to check on a query regarding prescriptions or arrange an appointment at short notice because it’s not possible to visit a GP during standard surgery opening hours. All the advice provided through i-HEART is delivered by experienced and knowledgeable healthcare professionals working in the town.”
i HEART can be accessed by calling 01226 242429. Alternatively a call back/ email response service is available as well as advice on a range of different medical conditions via the i-HEART website. For more details visit: http://www.iheartbarnsley.org.uk