A SERVICE that aims to transform healthcare in nursing and residential homes across Wirral has received a prestigious award.

Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust's teletriage service earned the empowerment award at Cheshire and Merseyside Digit@LL Awards 2019.

Through use of iPads and Skype, the scheme provides healthcare advice to care home staff, helping to manage any health concerns they have about their residents and aiming to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions.

Since its launch in 2017, the service has been rolled out across 76 care homes throughout Wirral. It is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Emma James, Teletriage nurse clinician, said: "We are delighted to have been awarded the Cheshire and Merseyside Digit@LL Empowerment Award.

"As a team we're really proud of the positive relationships we have with our local care homes and believe the success we've had implementing the Teletriage Service is due to strong partnership working across Wirral".

For the care homes taking part, the service provides an alternative to NHS 111, which is unable to offer the same level of clinical assessment and medical intervention.

Its introduction has prevented many care home patients going to hospital by providing an alternative pathway.

A trust spokeswoman said the service receives about 280-300 calls a month from care homes, and only 12% of patients require hospital treatment (usually for an X-Ray).

She added: "In every 12 month period, the service helps avoid over 3000 unnecessary hospital admissions. These residents are instead given the treatment and care they require in their own familiar and comfortable environment, rather than facing the frightening and disruptive prospect of ambulances and hospital departments.

"This is a much better outcome for patients."