"7 hour Pacemaker Check-up journey"

About: Crosshouse Hospital / Cardiology

(as a relative),

Suggestions for Improvement to Ayrshire + Arran NHS Pacemaker checkups

I would like to make a suggestion for improvement to the pacemaker check-up system for Isle of Arran residents.

Since 2009, my (now) 82 year-old father has been attending annual, then 6 monthly follow-up appointments at Crosshouse Hospital Cardiology Department to have his pacemaker monitored. NHS staff have always provided an excellent service.

My father’s round-trip from Machrie to Crosshouse, involves approximately 7 hours travelling time, in a car and on the Brodick-Ardrossan ferry. His pacemaker check-up appointment takes approximately 15 minutes.

This journey, from 7. 30am until 2. 30pm, is becoming more and more exhausting for him. His appointments are now scheduled for every two months.

I expect that there are other pacemaker patients resident on Arran who regularly make the same journey to Crosshouse Hospital.

May I suggest a change to the system, to bring pacemaker monitoring equipment and specialist staff to run a regular clinic at the Arran War Memorial Hospital at Lamlash?

I hope that this issue is given due consideration.

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Responses

Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

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Dear Hearttoheart,

I can appreciate your concern, it is such a long day for 15 minutes, I do not know enough about this and so I can’t judge whether this is possible or not but it makes great sense on the surface. Thank you so much for this sensible and logical suggestion. Let me speak to the relevant team and I will get back to you.

Kind regards,

Eunice

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Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

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Dear Hearttoheart,

I have spoken to the team and this is what I now know. In theory, there could be clinics on Arran but this is unlikely for various reasons. Pacemaker checks are done to identify how well the pacemaker is working for the individual’s needs and if there are any issues with the functionality.

I have witnessed great developments with pacemakers in my career as a Radiographer but we should not underestimate the skills required to keep the person and the pacemaker healthy. To diagnose an issue, a wide variety of different disciplines are required to be on hand at the drop of a hat. It would be difficult if not impossible to ensure everyone was available immediately when needed so far away from the larger centres e.g. Crosshouse. This may cause delay and possibly harm rather than help.

There are new pacemakers (fairly recently available) that can be mainly monitored from home and this is the way forward. These pacemakers with the new technology would reduce the need to go to the mainland.

Clearly the ‘old’ pacemakers do not have the ability to be monitored from home and therefore it would only be when the pacemaker is at the end of its usefulness that it would be replaced with the new type. While it does not help in the immediate future, it will help many people as time goes on, hopefully your relative too. I hope this is helpful to you and your relative. Thank you so much for raising this, it is always good to review things and understand how the service can or is moving forward.

Best wishes,

Eunice

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Update posted by Hearttoheart (a relative)

I am glad to hear of the increasing availability of new style pacemakers which can be monitored from home. Aren't advances in medicine wonderful!

My Dad would not be alive today if it weren't for his pacemaker and the staff who look after him.

We appreciate the response from A+A Health Board staff. Thank you.

Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

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Dear Hearttoheart,

You most welcome and we are very happy to help.

I could not agree more, the advances are wonderful. In my career I have seen many, many amazing developments; CT scanning, MRI, heart transplants and many more in what is technically a ‘short’ period in history. All the best to you and your Dad,

Eunice

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