Secondary Care

NHS Highland ensures access to video consulting service

NHS Highland is installing special versions of its innovative NHS Near Me in healthcare facilities across Highland to ensure everyone has equitable access to the video-consulting service.

Patients can also now use dedicated unstaffed rooms in seven different locations across the region – with another eight to follow soon.

The Health Board plans that most patients will use the NHS Near Me web-based platform to attend out-patient appointments from their own homes using video devices on their own computers, smartphones or tablets. The unstaffed rooms with easy-to-use computer equipment for NHS Near Me have been set up to ensure patients who can’t connect from home are not excluded.

NHS Highland’s NHS Near Me lead, Clare Morrison, said “The opening of these NHS Near Me rooms mark the end of the first phase of the installation of the unstaffed version of the NHS Near Me Service. Our experience of using NHS Near Me in Caithness, and an earlier project using video consulting technology at home showed that not everyone has a smartphone, computer or good internet connection. That’s why we have put these unstaffed rooms in: so everyone can access the NHS Near Me Service.”

Clare said “the dedicated NHS Near Me devices in the rooms are easy to use. All the patient has to do is press the on button on the device and it automatically loads up the NHS Near Me webpage. The dedicated device has clear instructions to follow and there is a step-by-step laminated guide in the room as a back-up.”

The plan is to have  15 of these unstaffed rooms in operation in different locations around Highland.

Since a pilot of the service at Caithness General Hospital last year, some 17 departments within NHS Highland currently offer appointments via NHS Near Me, with the Highland Haematology service proving to be the number one provider of consultations across Scotland.