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NHS in Vale of York provide over 100 electronic handheld devices to care homes for online GP consultations

The NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has organised for over 100 electronic handheld devices to be delivered to 60 care homes across the region, which will improve access to GP appointments for care home residents during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The tablets will enable rapid access to remote GP support when it is needed by residents, and decrease the risk of Covid-19 transmission by reducing the number of visits to care homes where appropriate. It will also be clinically beneficial for GPs to assess patients through video instead of by telephone alone.

By implementing new digital solutions it is hoped that GPs will be able to see more patients more quickly, reduce time spent travelling to and from care homes, and respond effectively to requests for urgent appointments.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak GPs in our area have been supported by the Vale of York CCG in swiftly developing new ways of working, which has included moving some surgeries to 100% online initial triage to reduce infection risk, in only a matter of weeks.

Michelle Carrington, Executive Director of Quality and Nursing, said, “Covid-19 continues to present significant challenges to both the NHS and social care sector, with a greater impact on the most vulnerable in our society. By working closely with our partners to deliver innovative digital solutions we will help deliver high-quality and safe healthcare support for residents in care homes across the Vale of York.”

Linda Donnellan-Beevers, Manager at Amarna Care Home in York, said, “Ensuring that our residents are able to access GP appointments safely is an absolute priority for us. We look forward to using the new tablets, which will be used following infection control principles, to help residents speak to their GPs about Covid-19 and non Covid-19 related health issues. Reducing the number of people who come in and out of the care home is critical to protecting our residents.”

Dr Thomas Patel-Campbell, GP at Haxby Group Practice, said, “These devices will allow GPs to perform secure video consultations with patients living in care homes, enabling us to manage their medical problems without putting them at increased risk. Where a face-to-face assessment is needed we will of course continue to provide this. This is an example of how we are using technology in the Vale of York to improve patient care, with the added reassurance that patients will be able to see the face of their usual GP.”

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