Telehealth Revolution Set to Benefit more North Yorkshire Patients

NHS North Yorkshire and York unveiled plans to purchase a further 2,000 Telehealth systems to support patients living with long term health conditions in the area - making it the largest scale Telehealth programme in the UK.

The announcement follows an eight month trial of the revolutionary Telehealth technology which has demonstrated the huge benefits it can bring for both patients and clinicians alike.

The technology involves a Telehealth system being installed in the patient's home which takes readings of their vital signs - such as temperature, blood pressure, blood glucose and oxygen levels - depending on their condition. These readings are then sent directly, via the telephone line, to a central monitoring centre where any abnormalities are flagged and a clinician is alerted to contact the patient.

The main purpose of Telehealth is to identify and act on any deterioration in a patient's condition before it gets to the point they require admission to hospital. It can also be used to help facilitate patients being discharged home early from an acute setting.

David Cockayne, Director of Strategy for NHS North Yorkshire and York, said: "We are delighted to announce this significant investment in Telehealth which we, and local clinicians, believe will continue to make a huge difference for patients living with a long term health condition.

"As outlined in our recently published five-year strategy, we are committed to providing care closer to home and improving the quality of life for patients living with a long term health condition. We recognise Telehealth as being a key enabler to us achieving our aspirations."

Telehealth is targeted at patients living with long-term health conditions including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Chronic Heart Failure and Diabetes. In 2008/09, over 6,000 patients in North Yorkshire and York were admitted to hospital with respiratory or cardiac problems.

Rosie Walker Smith, a Case Manager working in the Hambleton and Richmondshire area of North Yorkshire, has seen the benefits of Telehealth first hand. She added: "Feedback from patients already using Telehealth has been overwhelmingly positive. Not only does it reduce the risk of their condition deteriorating to the point they need hospital treatment, but also gives them the peace of mind that their condition is being monitored.

"It's great that more patients will get to benefit from this technology."

Leading North Yorkshire-based provider of Telehealth, Tunstall, was awarded the contract to provide the additional 2,000 systems following a competitive tender process.

Jon Lowe, UK Managing Director at Tunstall Healthcare said: "We are delighted to be partnering with NHS North Yorkshire and York to reshape the way care is delivered closer to home, using innovative technology to support and sustain care delivery. One thing is clear, patients are at the heart of everything we do and Telehealth can have an immediate and lasting positive impact on patient care and clinical quality. We very much look forward to working with NYY to deliver a whole systems approach to care, allowing clinical teams to unlock the benefits for patients and carers."

More information about the Telehealth programme in North Yorkshire and York can be found at: www.northyorkshireandyork.nhs.uk/localservices/telehealth

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