Scots heart patient’s bi-annual NHS consultant checkup replaced with virtual one in 2022

A heart patient who usually sees a consultant every six months has been told his next appointment will be a virtual one - in 2022.

Robert Gray, 49, has cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle that makes it harder for the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body and can cause sudden death.

Mr Gray said he has been seen every six months by a cardiologist for the past 20 years for clinical tests that can detect any deterioration in his condition.

But following his last check-up in July he has now been told his next appointment will be a video consultation in September 2022.

A heart patient who usually sees a consultant every six months has been told his next appointment will be a virtual one - in 2022.

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Mr Gray, from Glasgow, said a delay in appointments is counterproductive as it could lead to more A&E admissions - putting added pressure on the NHS.

He is normally seen twice a year as an outpatient at Stobhill Hospital in Glasgow.

While he also has access to nurse specialists over the phone, he said his appointments are necessary to help pick up any changes in his condition.

Mr Gray said: "It's counterproductive because, what will happen is a lot of us will end up in casualty which will just put pressure on that service.

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"When I'm seen in clinic I usually get blood tests as well as an ECG (electrocardiogram) and an ultrasound of my heart."

In common with other health boards, the board said more appointments are taking place by telephone or video link to minimise the spread of Covid-19.

It is also using a new system called Patient Initiated Review (PIR) where patients are given the option to "opt in" for follow up if a face-to-face appointment is not necessary.

Mr Gray said it is unfair patients are expected to have the technology to facilitate virtual appointments.

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He said: "I have to supply the apparatus, the internet connection, a decent web cam. It feels as if the NHS has almost gone corporate.

"There are 185,000 people in Glasgow who don't have internet access and they have been cast adrift."

A spokeswoman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said it would look into Mr Gray's case to ensure the appointment timescale was appropriate.

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