Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe will be spearheading a new integrated health programme that aims to support the early diagnosis of heart failure.
The Heart Failure Service provided by Portiuncula University Hospital and Galway Primary Care is one of the successful projects to benefit from the €20m Sláintecare Integration Fund recently announced by Minister Harris.
This project is a collaboration between Portiuncula Hospital and Galway Primary Care with the goal of moving care to the community, reducing waiting lists and improving experiences for patients.
James Keane, General Manager, Portiuncula University Hospital said that over 2,600 people in their catchment area have a diagnosis of heart failure.
An additional 5,000 people in the area are asymptomatic and are considered at risk of developing heart failure.
This project he claimed will mean faster diagnoses and a better experience for patients with treatment close to home.
€330,000 has been awarded to Portiuncula’s new service which will see more clinics in Primary Care Centres where patients can access echocardiograms within two weeks of referral, along with new weekly heart failure virtual clinics to enable GPs to discuss cases with the consultant cardiologist.
It also aims to deliver improved access to cardiology and heart failure expertise from advanced nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists in the community and in the hospital for GPs to help them triage and manage the care of patients with new diagnoses.
Dr Aidan Flynn, Consultant Cardiologist and project lead at PUH said that they were delighted to receive the Sláintecare Integration funding to improve on their services.
“Heart failure is the most common reason for older people to need a hospital stay and these patients often require a lengthy stay in hospital.”
He added that the goal of this project is for “the right care to be delivered in the right place at the right time” for patients.
“We want to be able to provide the same level of hospital clinic care in the community, with follow up in the hospital as required for any patients whose condition changes.”
Seamus Beirne, General Manager of Galway Primary Care commented, “We are excited at the opportunity to expand the work of the Community Heart Failure Management Programme which has been working with University Hospital Galway and Portiuncula University Hospital for over ten years.”