A new Cornish pathway service which diagnoses and treats low acuity chest pain has been shortlisted for a national award. 

The scheme at Camborne Redruth Community Hospital has been named as a finalist for the Modernising Diagnostics Award run by the Health Service Journal.

The community hospital assesses patients and offers senior medical advice. 

The pathway is available to patients throughout Cornwall. It provides an alternative care setting for more than 100 patients and reducing the pressure on the emergency department. 

The patient is then referred back to their local primary care team or referred into the hospital if they require more specialised cardiology review. 

More than 1,000 people have now taken part in the pathway. 

Dr Janine Glazier, the associate medical director at Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The aim of this pathway is to provide same-day emergency care for patients with low acuity chest pain. 

“An episode of chest pain can be very alarming for patients. 

“It is important to always seek medical advice from a healthcare professional as there are urgent important investigations that need to be carried out on the same day. 

“A patient who has presented to their primary care team or calls 999 will be reviewed and have an ECG done by the initial team. 

“If the ECG does not show an acute heart attack and the pain has settled, then the patient is referred to the low acuity chest pain pathway. Even with a normal ECG there can still be concerns with the heart and so further blood test need to be carried out urgently. 

“The patient is then looked at and cared for in one of our community hospitals.” 

The new technology allows health care professionals to take blood and put it through  a handheld machine. 

This provides results within 10 minutes and saves a trip to an acute hospital to access this important test 

Dr Glazier added: “Health care professionals use an Atellica patient-side analyzer to see if there has been any damage to the heart muscle. 

“They then conduct blood tests and investigate other causes of chest pain. This can include chest infections, stomach ulcers, and joint inflammation.” 

The pathway runs in collaboration with the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust. 

It uses their specialists in chemical pathology, cardiology, and emergency care. The patient is referred to an acute cardiology team if they need more care. 

Their GP is told the results and changes to medication on the same day. 

Janine says: “Chest pain is the main reason many go to the emergency department. Eight in 10 people go home after a day or less.  Our pathway treats patients in the community to free up the emergency department and ambulance service for those distressed and in pain. 

“The pilot is a success. The patient is seen closer to home in a quiet and calm place. 

“Where appropriate This is much better for our patients, especially those who are frail and elderly.”  

The trial has also cut the numbers of people admitted to hospital. 

The pathway is now in West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance and the Isles of Scilly. Bodmin will soon follow. 

The Health Service Journal will announce the award winners on November 16.