PATIENTS with conditions including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and COPD can now get additional one-hour appointments thanks to a new NHS pilot scheme.

It is hoped the extra sessions with nurses will help people with long term conditions stay healthy and reduce the number of times a patient attends their GP for chronic disease management reviews.

Warrington Clinical Commissioning Group, the NHS body for Warrington, has funded the three-month pilot scheme for Padgate Medical Centre and its Woolston branch, Holes Lane Surgery and Fairfield Surgery.

The scheme is an added bonus for patients who will still have their normal access to their GP.

Nurse practitioner Vivien Stevens said: “I really enjoy seeing people go out feeling happier.

“They might have had the condition for years but this is the first time someone has been able to sit down with them for an hour and go through things in detail.”

The pilot focuses on diabetes, which affects around seven per cent of people in the town, cardiovascular disease, which affects 11.2 per cent of Warrington residents and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which accounts for 2.9 per cent of the town’s population.

Two nurse practitioners, based at Woolston Hub, carry out complete health reviews, highlight any gaps in the patients knowledge, and arrange for referrals and follows ups.

Vivien added: “One young man was a diabetic eating lots of biscuits and sweets.

“After the review he said ‘Okay you have convinced me’ and he went out saying he would make changes to his life.”

The pilot has so far picked up a number of cases of low mood and social isolation with patients being referred to Warrington’s wellbeing mentors.

Dr Liz Iles, who oversees the nurses, said the scheme had been ‘valuable and popular’ in the short time it had been running so far.

Dr Andy Davies, chairman of Warrington CCG, said: “We’re committed to modernising the NHS in Warrington.

“The number of long term conditions is growing and the NHS has been struggling to meet the demand by working in the traditional way.

“The pilot scheme looks to have been working well and we will be evaluating it in September.”