Patients at two more Highland hospitals will be able to attend out-patient appointments closer to home thanks to the set-up of special staffed clinics using the latest video-consulting technology.
The NHS Near Me service at the Portree Hospital on Skye opened on Wednesday 19 December 2018 and another clinic based at the Lawson Memorial Hospital in Golspie, Sutherland, went live this week (Wednesday 9th January 2019).
NHS Highland’s NHS Near Me lead, Clare Morrison, said: “Our aim is to offer the same range of NHS Near Me services in Portree and Golspie as we currently have in Wick. And we also have plans so that even more departments can provide NHS Near Me services in the near future.”
With three clinics now in operation, NHS Highland plans to open a staffed NHS Near Me clinic at the Belford Hospital in Fort William in early 2019 and a further clinic at the new hospital in Aviemore. In addition, work has begun on offering patients NHS Near Me appointments at home.
“The NHS Near Me service can be used by patients who have a device for making video calls like a smartphone or computer with webcam, and a reliable internet connection. We have already provided a few appointments this way successfully, and have just started work with a public group in Skye to ensure the at-home service is easy to use.” said Clare, adding: “NHS Near Me was created in response to patient demand to reduce travel to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness for appointments. Although the initial focus is on out-patient services, work has begun on testing NHS Near Me in GP practices and community teams.”
NHS Highland departments currently providing NHS Near Me services include: CAMHS; Cardiology; Colorectal; Dermatology; Diabetes; Dietetics; Gastroenterology; Haematology; Neurology; Paediatrics; Psychiatry; Renal; Respiratory; Rheumatology; Sleep service; Speech & Language Therapy; and Stroke & Rehabilitation.