Technology that can offer patients a quick and accurate heart check-up over the telephone could save lives over the festive holiday period, say experts at the NHS North West and Broomwell HealthWatch.
The North West team believe that access to a five-minute heart test over the phone will reduce pressure on overstretched hospitals.
The award-winning telemedical ECG technology is already in use at more than 100 surgeries and health centres in Greater Manchester, with many more surgeries taking on the technology in the next few months.
Joe Rafferty, NHS North West director of Commissioning and Strategy said: "Heart incidents are more common during the holiday season, but people may put off getting a medical diagnosis because they worry about travelling to hospitals and having to wait for tests and results.
"Telemedical ECG tests in local surgeries and health centres overcome these worries, and help identify those people that urgently need cardiac care – and reassure those that don't.
"We are pleased to be pioneering the widespread use of this innovative technology within our region."
Joshua Rowe, CEO of Broomwell HealthWatch added: "This service is great for patients because of its convenience and speed, and great for the NHS because it cuts costs and frees up resources.
"This is essentially important during the holiday season, when hospital and A and E admissions can increase."