Parents and hospital staff celebrated the first anniversary of an award-winning service that allows pregnant women to check their health from home.

They met in the delivery suite of the hospital on Tuesday to share feedback about the novel system known as FLO.

The service helps mums-to-be to check their blood pressure and receive medical advice via text messages. It aims to save those with high blood pressures unnecessary hospital trips while keeping NHS costs down.

Women are given training to take their own blood pressure readings using a machine and once set up on FLO they can receive personalised reminders to take tests. Hospital teams then assess their readings and get back to them with advice.

Dr Nusrat Fazal, a consultant who has been working to improve the health project, said: “We were celebrating the anniversary of our innovative telehealth project today. We invited the whole team and our service users to hear their views directly from them. It was a very good turnout and very well received.”

“Patient feedback is absolutely fantastic and we’ve had no adverse outcome. Midwives said how it gave them more confidence in safer monitoring and how to manage time more efficiently by replacing face-to-face appointment with FLO.”

FLO has won awards at conferences in Southampton and Bristol and has attracted interest from other hospitals. Nusrat herself won a Great Western Hospital Staff Excellence award for innovation in practice having been involved in the project over the past two years. So far the service has saved 600 hospital appointments from being made, and it is estimated that it reduces costs at GWH by around £67,000 a year.

Dr Mohamed Elnasharty, consultant obstetrician, said: “The Flo project can also help to prevent unnecessary treatment for patients whose blood pressure rises just because they are in a hospital environment.”

Mum Sarah Feeney said: “It was a fantastic experience and I didn’t have to come to hospital as frequently as before, when the weather was bad I didn’t have to come in, and I was a lot less anxious at home when I was taking my blood pressure. It made me feel quite empowered to be able to do my blood pressure at home.”

Kayleigh Clarke, who was also at the event, said: “It was very easy to use and it only took a couple of minutes to do my reading. It’s much easier than coming down to the hospital to be monitored. I knew by doing it at home it was going to be a much more accurate and realistic reading.”

The service has helped 60 or so patients in the previous 10 months to engage in self-reflective feedback. For the hospital, it is hoped the service will enable doctors to manage their workload and improve staff satisfaction in the future.