Following the roll-out of digital appointments for GP surgery’s across Wales, a further £2.8m has been invested to extend the scheme to all of secondary and community care.
Although this does not include pharmacy it does include community nurses, community mental health teams, health visitors and community midwives. In secondary care, it includes outpatients and diabetes clinics.
The expansion of the service will allow people to maintain key medical appointments, whilst maintaining social separation.
Offering video consultation will help reduce the spread of the infection of COVID-19 with fewer people attending hospitals or clinics, reducing the risk of exposure to both patients and clinicians. It will also allow patients in self-isolation to maintain contact with medical professionals.
Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething, said:
“Digital technology already plays a huge role in delivering health and social care in Wales. The expansion of the video consultation into community care means that more people can access medical services in a safe environment, reducing the risk for both patients and our dedicated health and care professionals.
“I’m pleased to also provide further funding to help support the most vulnerable in our community to access digital appointments, with the added benefit of boosting individual wellbeing to provide virtual access to loved ones. I hope this will also give reassurance to family and friends who are unable to visit.
Dr David Hepburn, Intensive Care Consultant, ABUHB:
“Our team have used the application for communication with families of critically ill patients. It is a vital tool to allow us to build close relationships and trust with families who are unable to visit and puts a human face on interactions and allows real-time updates. We couldn’t provide the service without it.
Lara Ramsay, Director of Inclusive Communities at the Wales Co-operative Centre said:
“We are all supporting our vulnerable family and friends as best as we can during this current crisis and no doubt many of us are helping them to connect with others through digital technology. It’s really important we equip people who have never been online with the skills to use digital devices safely and with confidence.
“This critical funding from Welsh Government will enable our Digital Communities Wales Programme to provide our key care providers with access to digital devices so that the people in their care can stay connected and access vital health services during this pandemic.
This circular is being shared under the Open Government Copyright licence.