View Full Version : Hi-tec video benefit for Caithness

07-Dec-11, 17:49
New telehealth project improves access to substance misuse services in North

PATIENTS accessing specialist substance misuse services in the far North will now have improved access to services and support to specialist teams based in Inverness.
Video conferencing is already widely used by NHS Highland as a way of connecting health care staff who work in different places. It is also being used for patient consultations between Inverness, Wick, Skye and the Western Isles.
Using video conferencing specialist staff in Inverness will be able to link in with colleagues in Caithness allowing them to improve access to specialist substance misuse services for those accessing the Caithness Alcohol and Drug Dependency Service (CADDS) as well as provide support to staff.
The service, which started at the beginning of December, will involve staff in Inverness linking with patients and staff in Caithness bi-monthly.
NHS Highland has teamed up with the Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare (SCTT), part of NHS24, in order to facilitate this project.
Dr David Gordon, Consultant Psychiatrist and Addictions Consultant, is based at New Craigs Hospital in Inverness. He explained that both patients and staff are going to benefit from this new service.
He said: “It will mean more rapid access to service for patients. The clinical supervision for staff can be improved, and I can reduce the number of times I need to go up to Caithness saving me travel time, which means I will be able to see more patients. I am a big fan of this idea as it uses the most up to date technology for care delivery in order to address the challenges of remote and rural working.”
Teresa Green, Service Manager for Community Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Team, is based in Caithness. She explained that not only will patients benefit from improved access but the staff and the service itself will profit from this new way of working.
She said: “By improving the communication with services based in Inverness it will be a much smoother patient journey, as well as reducing waiting times thanks to increased access. As staff we will also see increased access to specialised medical input, this not only enhances the support we get in managing patients with addiction problems but we will also have more training opportunities delivered via video link which, again, brings benefits to the patients accessing the service.
We will also use this opportunity to explore the possibility of access to therapeutic interventions, such as group work, which at the moment involves patients travelling to Inverness. In addition we will also be looking at accessing urgent Outpatient appointments, which is currently provided by a visiting service within Caithness.”
Cathy Dorrian, Service Development Manager with SCTT said: “The Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare is working with NHS Highland on the development of several new telehealth services. The development of these services would not have been possible without the support of video conferencing advisors within NHS Highland. This new service is another example of how can work together to improve access to specialist services for patients and staff. The Community Mental Health Team in Caithness has really embraced the technology and should be commended on their approach to improving outcomes for patients.”