Knowing your pulse - it could save your life

Chief Executive, Karen Howell's Wirral Globe Column


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate and this week our Heart Support Service is raising awareness of the condition for AF Aware Week 2016. One in four people will develop AF and it affects an estimated 1.5 million people across the UK. AF is the most powerful single risk factor for suffering a stroke and every 15 seconds someone suffers an AF related stroke. It can affect adults of any age, but becomes more common as you get older affecting about 7 in 100 people aged over 65.

The important thing to remember is that AF can be detected cheaply and easily with a simple manual pulse check, and treating AF at an early stage delivers significant health and cost benefits.

Every day this week you can drop into St Catherine’s Health Centre any time between 11.30am and 1.30pm and meet members of our Heart Support Service who are sharing information on AF with the public. You can get your pulse and blood pressure checked and they’ll be demonstrating a new technology called AliveCor which monitors heart rate using a mobile phone app.

Looking after your own health and wellbeing is good for everyone and helps reduce demand on the NHS. Knowing your pulse is a great example of self care and helps you understand when to seek appropriate help. If you have any concerns about AF and can’t get along to our drop in this week, speak to you GP who’ll be able to help.

In other news, you may have read about the changes to our Phlebotomy (blood test) service that will come into effect next week on Thursday 1 December. These have been brought about as a result of trying to work within the NHS resources made available to us, whilst ensuring we meet patient’s healthcare needs. As such we have to look at different ways of providing services and the new model offers over 1,000 additional phlebotomy appointments per week.

This means the 200,000 patients we see every year for blood tests will get maximum flexibility in choosing when to have their test done. We will be running the service from four hubs* as of next Thursday, 8.30am-4.30pm and patients for routine and urgent blood tests will be able to just turn up, without the need to book an appointment, at whichever hub is most convenient. Please be reassured that housebound patients or those who are unable get to a clinic will be able to have their blood tests done at home by asking their GP for a domiciliary blood test referral.

For more information about all our services, visit  or like us on Facebook/nhsbuzz or follow us on Twitter @wirralct
*Phlebotomy hub locations – St Catherine’s Health Centre, Victoria Central Walk-in Centre, Eastham Clinic, All Day Health Centre.

Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 November 2016 16:18

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