Bupa UK has launch a new at-home cardiac assessment service, designed to provide rapid diagnosis of heart conditions.
The service has been introduced amid growing concern from cardiologists that thousands of people may be putting themselves at greater risk of long-term heart damage having delayed seeking medical help during the pandemic.
The new service, which has been successfully piloted in London, offers customers a video consultation with a cardiologist within 36 hours of contacting a specialist triage team. This is signifiantly faster than the usual time it takes to arrange a face-to-face appointment.
If further investigation is needed to support a diagnosis, the latest electrocardiogram (ECG) and blood test kits can be sent direct to a customer’s home and a follow up video consultation can be arranged at no extra cost to discuss the results and next steps.
Bupa UK says that at the height of the lockdown it saw a 60 per cent drop in customer requests for an initial consultation with a cardiologist compared to the same period last year.
Similarly, the British Heart Foundation reports that the number of people attending hospital with a suspected heart attack has halved during lockdown.
Bupa UK chief executive Alex Perry says: “If you’re suffering from cardiac symptoms, like chest pains or palpitations, it’s vital that you do not delay seeking specialist support.
“During the current crisis we know that some people have been reluctant to come forward to get symptoms checked, which could lead to serious health problems in the long-term.
“Our rapid cardiac assessment service provides reassurance for patients who may be anxious about seeking help, offering fast access to specialist diagnosis from the safety and comfort of their own home.”
Dr Ravi Assomull, a consultant cardiologist who has been supporting patients with the rapid cardiac assessment service adds: “Patients with heart palpitations benefit particularly well from this as the whole pathway can be conducted exclusively at home with a full diagnosis and management plan reached in a timely fashion.
“The convenience and clinical robustness of these investigations suggest that these may have a lasting role even after the threats from the Covid-19 pandemic recedes.”
The new cardiac service is part of Bupa’s enhanced range of remote health services, where customers can get advice from nurses on everyday health concerns, treatment from GPs, physios, mental health therapists, and fast access to diagnosis and treatment for critical conditions such as cancer, and mental health.