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NHS Lanarkshire Heart Failure Nurses Improve Patient Reassurance and Control via Flo

A local press release describes how a patient has retained his independence and gained reassurance and confidence over managing his condition following discharge from hospital with the help of Flo.


A former charity worker who dedicated his time to helping others has revealed how the power of text has offered him vital reassurance in his own time of need.

Bill Alcorn (63), from Biggar in South Lanarkshire, managed a Befriending Project for Bethany Christian Trust in Edinburgh, which was geared to keeping older people connected to their communities.

But a severe heart attack in 2011, followed by a series of related problems which led to Bill facing the possibility of a heart transplant, put an early end to his career.

Now Bill, who is recovering in his own home, has explained how an innovative new text message system – which links patients directly to NHS Lanarkshire Heart Failure Nurses to help manage their condition –  has given him a crucial boost.

“Although my condition has improved to the extent I don’t need the transplant, I still have a lot of medication and regular checks and appointments to manage the symptoms.

“When something like this happens it affects your confidence profoundly. You can feel at the mercy of the condition.

“But the text message system has given me an extra layer of reassurance and a sense of regaining control. Help and advice is only a text away.”

The system is known as Florence and can help patients, like Bill, who have had hospital treatment for heart failure over the previous six month period.

The service, arranged by the specialist nursing staff, helps the user take a more active role in their own health care.

The system can be used on any mobile phone able to receive texts and is free for the patient to use.

Patients, who can be of any age, send details such as weight and blood pressure, in a text message, and receive texts back with advice, all based on the latest readings. The specialist nurses can add reminders or information to suit the individual patient and their care.

Traditional care is still available. In Bill’s instance, he attends a regular clinic in Carluke, 17 miles away.  The Florence system means, however, he isn’t always tied to visits to clinic or hospital.

Bill added: “I don’t mind going to clinic – but it’s good to know you can go on holiday and not have any problems.

“We live in quite a rural area so it’s also good to know when the weather’s bad you can relay the vital information via text.

“This is all about freedom and retaining independence which is very important for me.”

The innovative scheme is part of the European-wide initiative United4Health, which is geared to using new technology to improve healthcare. NHS Lanarkshire along with North and South Lanarkshire Council are partners and the initiative comes at a pivotal time.

A new Act requires health boards and local authorities to integrate their adult health and social care services.

A key aim of integration is to provide person-centred planning and delivery, so that people get the right advice, support and care in the right place and at the right time.

Morag Hearty, United4Health programme Manager, added: “This is just one of a raft of systems being introduced to get patients more involved in custom designed, personalised healthcare which can only increase independent living.”

To find out more about United4Health and the Florence text programme, e mail Morag Hearty on

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