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11,000 Virtual Consultations Take Place Across Tayside

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Remote consultations for patients continue to go from strength to strength with 11,000 remote consultations since the beginning of April, making NHS Tayside one of the top-performing Boards in Scotland delivering this service.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, NHS Tayside has made rapid progress in rolling out virtual consultations across Tayside using the video link service called ‘Near Me’.

The technology behind ‘Near Me’ has been designed specifically for the health care sector and helps clinicians to speak to their patients remotely.

Healthcare staff working in GP Practices, in hospitals, in mental health services and Allied Health Professionals, such as physiotherapists and occupational therapists have really embraced the ‘Near Me’ service.

Laic Khalique, Director of Digital Technology for NHS Tayside, said, 'Near Me’ is making a very positive impact on the number of consultations being carried out remotely.

The pace of change has been very impressive within NHS Tayside and this is very apparent looking at figures for the whole of 2019 when health workers in Tayside used ‘Near Me’ a total of 250 times. There is a huge jump in the figures recorded since March 2020 when health workers used the ‘Near Me’ service to carry out 11,000 remote consultations.

The Digital Team has worked extremely hard to ensure that these changes deliver long term benefits to our patients beyond the COVID-19 response. This will mean that in future, where clinically appropriate, the majority of our patients will be able to access our appointment services remotely thereby reducing travel and offering a service that is much more convenient for our patients.”

‘Near Me’ is simple to use with patients using their own digital device to enter a ‘virtual online waiting area’ for their booked appointment.  A huge benefit is that this digital service allows people to arrange an appointment with a healthcare professional via video call from the comfort of their own home.

Arranging appointments in this way will mean that patients can save on travel time, have reduced time off work to attend appointments and reduce the reliance of carers or family members having to attend hospital or clinic appointments with the patient.

Early feedback from services users is very positive with patients commenting on the ease of use and confirming that they would be happy to use ‘Near Me’ video consultation in the future.

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