New suite to increase number of video appointments

Lerwick's Gilbert Bain Hospital.

A SECOND telehealth suite has been opened at the Gilbert Bain Hospital as NHS Shetland continues its efforts to have more patients seen locally through video conferencing instead of travelling to the Scottish mainland.

The purpose built room has a big screen monitor alongside a camera and computer, while there is also wheelchair access.

Where necessary a physiotherapist or nurse can be present in the room during consultations.

The video conferencing equipment at the Lerwick hospital has been funded by Friends of Anchor, a charity in the north east of Scotland which supports people with cancer.

Last year over 1,400 patients avoided a trip to the Scottish mainland by having video consultations on-island – an increase of around 800 from 2016.

NHS Shetland intends to increase the number of follow-up appointments and ophthalmology appointments offered locally in 2018 and it is also looking at ways to reduce patient travel from the isles’ more remote areas, like Unst and Yell.

Acting elective services manager Janine Rochester said: “It can be very disruptive to go to the mainland for an appointment, especially when it is for a follow-up appointment.

“Video consultations are especially convenient for patients and families who often have to make complex arrangements to attend their appointment on the mainland.”

Kathleen Carolan, director of nursing and acute services, added: “In order to help us to identify patients who would benefit from a telehealth appointment rather than travelling out with Shetland, we would like to encourage patients who receive appointment letters from NHS Grampian to contact our Patient Focussed Booking Plus Service (PFB+).

“This service will explore the possibility of organising a video consultation with the team requesting the appointment.”

To find out if your appointment can be offered in Shetland instead of travelling to the mainland, contact the PFB team Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, on 01595 743300.

For more information, the clinical nurse advisor and PFB team can be contacted via email on amanda.warnock@nhs.net or joel.wishart1@nhs.net.

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