Thousands of patients have been able to have their hospital outpatient appointments from the comfort of their own home thanks to a new video consultation system.
As part of the national outpatient improvement plan, NHS England and Improvement invited United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust ULHT) to be part of a pilot programme. This was due to launch in March with a handful of clinics, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, the new video appointments system has ensured thousands of patients from across Lincolnshire have been able to continue to get the advice and reassurance they need from hospital clinicians.
Patients who are suitable for this new style of appointment are being contacted in advance with advice and to check they have the suitable equipment to take part.
Since April 2020, more than 5,500 hours of video consultations have taken place with 700 clinicians from across the Trust in 50 regular virtual clinics. More than 94% of patients have said they would like to see the service continue.
One patient said: “I’m so impressed with the video call with my midwife Catherine. I’m never one for face calls as it always seems to freeze but this was fantastic and made it feel as though I was actually in the room with her which was really reassuring especially with the current times. Can’t thank Catherine enough for all of her advice and reassurance during my pregnancy so far and would recommend the video call to any expecting mother, especially during the current situation with COVID-19.”
ULHT Deputy Chief Executive, Mark Brassington said: “The great news is that during this pandemic our patients are still be able to see their regular doctor and not have their appointment cancelled. It alleviates the stress and expense of coming to one of our hospitals, they just need internet access so they can dial in using their computer, tablet or smartphone from anywhere and get the same advice and support.
“We know video consultations are not suitable for all patients and all conditions, but we know from feedback that for some of our patients attending routine appointments in normal circumstances this is much better for them and their busy lives.
“So far the response from both our patients and our teams has been really good. Although we have launched this new system during the pandemic, I really believe this is the future for many of our services whose patients are suitable for video consultations.”
Some patients will still be invited to come in for a face to face appointment where there is a medical reason for them to do so. If you are invited to attend a ULHT hospital for an appointment, please attend wherever possible for the treatment and advice you may need.
More information about the new appointments can be found on the Trust’s website.