Cumbria Crack

New video technology allows out of hours appointments closer to home

stethoscope[A] new project linking patients seeking advice at pharmacies with a GP is being trialled in Cumbria.

The pilot project, involving video technology, links Cumbria Health on Call (CHOC) with patients in the pharmacy allowing a consultation much closer to home rather than travelling to a CHOC centre or A+E.

The project allows pharmacists to make video calls to CHoC if they require additional advice or if a patient requires further examination by a GP. A senior GP is then able to examine and talk to the patient via a new video link. Prescriptions can also be issued electronically across to the pharmacy by the GP.

This exciting development potentially means that patients can avoid unnecessary trips to CHoC treatment centres and A & E.

Susan Blakemore, Chief Executive, CHoC said: “This is innovative and patient focused and it means that patients can be treated as near to their own homes as possible. CHOC is delighted to be leading on technology enabled care for patients during the ‘Out of Hours’ period.”

The aim of the service is to provide the public with fast, secure access to health care professionals, without having to travel in order to do so. By using a high definition video screen and a HD Camera the out of hours GP can virtually assess the patient and decide the best course of action.

Dr Neil Margerison, Medical Director for CHOC said: “Using the technology a CHOC clinician can assess various health conditions that are seen in primary care. The service enables patients to be managed safely without them having to make unnecessary journeys.”

CHOC is asking any pharmacies in Cumbria that wish to be involved in the scheme to make contact so they can discuss the opportunities available.

The project is currently being trialled with a pharmacy in Cockermouth which already had access to the IT equipment required, making them an ideal place to trial the system whilst seeking interest from all pharmacies across the county. Castlegate Pharmacy has, as a result, been able to refer patients to senior GP’s from CHoC on Saturdays and Sundays between 9.00am and 6.30pm.

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