Skype helping prevent avoidable hospital trips

NHS doctors and nurses are using Skype to help older people get faster care, reduce avoidable ambulance call-outs and help people stay out of hospital.

Taking nearly 8,000 calls a year from wardens working in sheltered accommodation, care home staff and community teams looking for expert support for their residents, the on-call Skype NHS team have prevented 3,000 avoidable visits to A&E and freed up 2,000 GP appointments by solving problems via Skype over the last two years.

The scheme in Tameside, Greater Manchester, is part of a programme of integrated services being rolled-out across the country as part of the NHS Long Term Plan, with smart use of technology enabling quicker, more personal care delivered as efficiently as possible. Quicker care has made the service more effective and efficient, freeing up £1.3 million and hundreds of hours of NHS staff time, to care for patients with urgent needs.

Stephen Powis, NHS England Medical Director, said: “Putting every person’s individual care needs at the centre of joined-up services, supported by smart technology, is the heart of our Long Term Plan for the NHS. What matters most to every patient and their family is that they get the right treatment, at the right time, so integrating services – across communities and between councils, carers and hospitals – is not only good for the people we care for but a more efficient use of NHS resources.”

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