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Pendle patients can now see doctor via new video link
A PIONEERING telehealth service is being piloted for patients in Pendle, which could halve hospital admissions.
Airedale Hospital, near Skipton, which sees 10 per cent of admissions coming from the Pendle and Burnley areas, has installed a telehealth system at a nursing home, two GP surgeries with four more planned, and in a patient’s own home.
The video conferencing system allows patients with chronic conditions to see and speak directly to a medic via a TV set, who can advise and assess whether a hospital admission is necessary.
The aim is to eventually roll the system out across the region, including East Lancashire.
Ann Wagner, director of strategy and business development at Airedale, said: “It’s the quickest way to get an opinion.
We will always admit people into hospital who need to come, but we’re hoping to reduce unnecessary admissions.
“In the past, everything’s been based around the medical staff, and for a lot of people it’s difficult, stressful and requires time off work to come to hospital appointments. Now we’re designing health services to suit the patients.”
For the pilot, patients with a history of repeat admissions have been chosen for the £2,500 set-top boxes, and doctors can use them to get a second opinion over an emergency admission.
A team of 13 sisters work on a rota to staff the Telehealth Hub, which is currently taking about three calls a day.
Hub manager Marie Buchan said: “It is very reassuring for people who are panicking when they press their emergency button.”
She said someone with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, for example, who was struggling to breathe could speak to a nurse and thereby decide if they needed to go to hospital.
Practices using the service are Earby Surgery and Barnoldswick Medical Centre.
Others which plan to are Dr Jha’s surgery and Richmond Hill practice at Colne Medical Centre, Colne Corner Surgery and the Yarnspinners health Centre, Nelson. Cravenside care home, Barnoldswick, uses the scheme for its 40 residents.
Each hospital admission costs £2,500; bosses at Airtedale believe that if the the scheme were rolled out further, it could reduce admissions by 30 to 50 per cent.
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