ADVANCES in digital technology in light of the Coronavirus pandemic have revolutionised NHS healthcare in North Wales.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) has conducted 10,716 virtual consultations with patients in the last 12 months.
Reinforcing the Welsh Government’s Help Us, Help You campaign, the figure shows public confidence in platforms including the online symptom checker is growing.
These remote options will become a realistic and accessible alternative to traditional face-to-face appointments in the years ahead, according to Dr Alka Ahuja, Virtual Consultation Clinical Lead at TEC Cymru, the organisation which pioneered the innovative systems.
She said: “Video consulting has made a huge difference to patients and health care professionals, ensuring that the NHS could continue to deliver safe and timely care during the pandemic.
“Feedback from patients and clinicians shows it is convenient, saving travel, money and time and video consulting is here to stay and will be one of the ways that people will continue to receive health care not just now but for the future.”
Over 139,500 virtual consultations took place in Wales over the last year through the NHS Wales video consulting service.
As a result, 558,118 patient travel miles were avoided, amounting to 12,350 hours saved.
Patients are likely to be offered a video consultation if their GP, nurse or health care professional wants more information than a telephone call can provide. Sessions are quick and easy to set-up via smartphone, tablet or PC and there is no need for installations or downloads.
The findings follow a report by YouGov which revealed less than half of people (40%) surveyed in North Wales will carry on in the same way they did before Coronavirus.
The majority plan to support new NHS systems introduced over the past 12 months for their safety and social distancing, including the virtual assessments.
For more information on how best to access NHS services, visit www.111.wales.nhs.uk or call 0845 46 47.
Visit www.bcuhb.nhs.wales for the latest news and information from Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.
Please use the hashtags #HelpuNiHelpuChi and #HelpUsHelpYou to support the Help Us, Help You campaign.