Elderly patients to trial online hospital appointments

Elderly man Image copyright SPL
Image caption If the scheme is successful it could be extended into peoples' homes

Elderly patients in rural north Wales could be offered online consultations with hospital doctors saving them from having to travel long distances.

Under the trial, patients will be able to go to the GP surgery and have an internet video link appointment with their hospital consultant.

The Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in north Wales is one of four UK areas piloting the scheme.

The Future Hospital Programme is run by the Royal College of Physicians.

If successful, the scheme could be extended into peoples' homes.

Secure NHS networks will allow consultants to see and speak to their patients at clinics set up in GPs' surgeries or community hospitals.

'Enhancing care'

It is designed to save elderly patients travelling long distances to hospital and free-up ambulances used to transport them.

The lessons learned in north Wales and the four other areas will be collated and shared to try and improve patient care across the UK.

"As part of the project we will be developing the service with patients and their carers to ensure that there is familiarity with the use of technology," said the health board's Dr Olwen Williams.

Dr Mark Temple, from the Royal College of Physicians, added: "The evaluation of new ways of delivering healthcare at these sites is important for patients, carers and healthcare staff, as the results will be shared widely to help enhance patient care in the NHS."

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