NHS chiefs will look to roll out the use of video technology to treat more patients at home, after hailing the success of a project in Chorley.

Lancashire Teaching Hos-pitals NHS Foundation Trust said their new ‘telemedicine’ service has enabled a number of patients with kidney problems to have a dialysis machine installed in their home, and to receive one-to-one care from a specialist, via a videolink.


Dialysis patients usually have to travel to hospital up to three times a week, with the appointments lasting up to four hours.

The service is based at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital and has been running for about a year.

Now Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, which pro-vides mental health and community nursing services in East Lancashire and has also been involved in the Video-as-a-Service (VaaS), said there was massive potential for its use to be expanded.

Andrew Thompson, the trust’s business development manager, said: “The next step is to see the benefits of VaaS extend out of the secondary and acute environments and into the primary sector.

“We now want to roll this more into primary care type scenarios, where we can run virtual clinics from GPs in Lancashire or South Cumbria. The subscription-based service which we've created enables patients to be wherever they want to be.”

The technology has already been used in stroke care throughout Lancashire since 2011, while a similar scheme has been launched by Airedale Hospital, thorough which several care homes in Pendle have had video links installed for residents to be remotely assessed.

Dr David Wrigley, who represents Lancashire doctors on the British Medical Association, said it would still be important for patients to be offered face-to-face consul-tations.

He added: “I can see this could be quite handy for patients but a lot of issues would need to be worked through before this was rolled out into primary care, such as IT security.

“It could certainly deliver benefits but I think they need to talk to GPs and consider running some pilot projects first.”