Friends funding for Cardiac Nurse Specialists

Cardiac Nurse Specialists offer many patients timely and consistent care for a range of conditions, freeing up Consultant appointments for more complex cases.  Friends of Brighton & Hove Hospitals have agreed two-year funding for two new posts based at Royal Sussex County Hospital.

Patrick Connolly, Acute Cardiac Nurse sees up to 40 patients in 5 clinics a week.  Patients may be referred via their GP and Patrick also attends the Emergency Department.  Here he aims to reduce delays and provides assessment and appropriate follow up care for people presenting with acute cardiac symptoms.  Once stabilised patients continue to receive a holistic package of care including education and self-management strategies so they know what to do at home should their symptoms recur.   Patients can be very frightened and having a familiar face they can talk to provides reassurance.  Patrick will also be involved with the Emergency Ambulatory Care Unit, running cardiac clinics for patient requiring urgent review.

Jo Jessup, Aortopathy, Adult Congenital Heart Disease, and Pulmonary Hypertension Nurse Specialist provides streamlined care for patients living with chronic cardiac issues requiring long term treatment. 

Jo offers an enhanced care pathway locally for patients across different services and ensures Consultants have the specialist information required if the patient is admitted into hospital for whatever reason.  Young people diagnosed with long term cardiac issues can be supported as they transition from children’s and adult services ensuring seamless care.

Jo’s work covers three main areas. 

  1. A monthly clinic to see and monitor patients with Pulmonary Hypertension in the local area, this is a joint consultant clinic with one of our specialist consultants at BSUH and a colleague from the Royal Free Hospital.
  2. Providing monitoring and acting as an information point for patients with Adult Congenital Heart Disease. This service is run in association with a specialist department at St Thomas’s Hospital.
  3. A new Aortopathy service for patients requiring surveillance of their thoracic aorta for a variety of reasons. Patients can contact the service at any time if they have symptoms they are concerned about. It is anticipated there will be 2 clinics a week seeing up to 10 patients.  This service will give patients faster access to specialist advice.  Regular team meetings will allow sharing of test results and information.

Both Patrick and Jo are highly experienced nurses working at an advanced level.  There will be opportunities for them to continue their professional development leading to exceptional care for all cardiac patients in Brighton & Hove and the surrounding area.  Delivering these services locally means patients do not have to travel to London or beyond to access specialist care.

Patrick and Jo are managed by Sarah Young, Nurse Consultant, Cardiology,  who will oversee the collection of data and patient feedback on their experience of the new services.   This information will be used to build a business case for future funding of the Nurse Specialist posts. 

About the author

Suzy and Sarah are the Administrative Team for the Friends charity.

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To express my thanks and gratitude to Friends of Brighton & Hove Hospitals for funding 3 expiratory and inspiratory respiratory muscle trainers. This is an innovative approach in voice and swallow therapy which helps patients in rehab working to improve their swallow function, cough and secretion management and also patients with long standing swallowing difficulties.

Duncan Brown, Advanced Speech and Language Therapist, ENT Department, Royal Sussex County Hospital

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