A TERMINALLY ill woman from Skipton has become one of the first to receive a vital mini iPad linking her directly with Airedale Hospital.

Judith Jovanic, 68, who suffers from long term liver disease, receives palliative care from the hospital. She is also a carer for her husband, who has terminal lung cancer.

And she is one of 30 patients across Craven, Airedale and Wharfedale to be given a mini-iPad, connecting her directly via a video link with the hospital's innovative Telehealth hub.

It means she is able to receive help and advice from nurses, throughout the day, seven days a week.

Mrs Jovanic has had the mini iPad for three months and although she has not used it very often, she recently used it in the middle of the night when her husband became ill.

"It was so stressful at the time," she said. "The nurse was very helpful and talked to me for quite a long time, she discussed my husband's condition with me and told me to ring back if I needed to.

"I felt so much better after the call and managed to get a good night's sleep."

She added: "The nurse rang back in the morning to check how we were and arranged for the out of hours GP to come out to us within a few hours. He gave my husband antibiotics and he was back to normal within 48 hours. It was excellent."

The dedicated telephone helpline - the Goldline - was launched across Craven, Wharfedale and Airedale in November last year and extended to Bradford in March on a year's trial.

There are currently 500 patients registered and 13 have also been given a mini iPad.

Tracy Gold, gold standards framework facilitator for the trust, said: "Patients can ring Goldline in the middle of the night if they need to which is very reassuring for them and just having that facility makes them feel better, more comfortable and safe.

"Most patients have increasing health needs towards the end of their life and yet they want to be cared for in their own home if possible, not in hospital. This service helps to prevent unnecessary admissions and re-admissions. It's a safety net."