New digital technology fast-tracked to support non-contact consultations in NHS Wales during the Coronavirus pandemic is here to stay, it has been announced.
New use of technology in recent months has allowed people across Wales to access video consultations with healthcare staff from their homes. New systems have been used to support key services including those provided by GPs, Community Nurses, Mental Health teams, Community Midwives and more in order to allow a visual link to continue between patients and staff during the pandemic.
There have been over eight thousand consultations since the new NHS Wales Video Consultation Service was launched, and feedback regarding the virtual care systems has been particularly positive, with 97% of patient’s rating the new way of working as excellent, really good or good.
Speaking about the technology used during the pandemic, Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething said;
“The new systems in place are not only responding to social distancing measures to protect people now, but will provide long-term benefits for the NHS here in Wales.
“We have acted quickly to roll out these services, which are very much a part of our plan for health and care – A Healthier Wales, to provide care closer to home within the community and in people’s homes.
“The technology is allowing clinicians to connect faster with patients and each other. I’m pleased that the feedback from patients and clinicians has been positive, it’s crucial that everyone feels digital technology is there to support them in delivering and receiving care in Wales.”
During the pandemic, the Welsh Government has also worked to upgrade network infrastructure to allow it to cope with increased demand and video consultations. The use of technology has allowed over a thousand GPs and key healthcare staff to work from home. Other services have been modernised through digital technologies and training has been provided to some healthcare and care home staff on how to use new systems.
The Welsh Government is also working to get over a thousand devices to care homes to support virtual NHS appointments and to help families to keep in touch during the lockdown.
A £150,000 Covid-19 Digital Solutions Fund was also setup recently to help firms find new ways to use digital technology to combat the COVID-19 Coronavirus in the coming months.
Over 1,300 people are believed to have died with the COVID-19 Coronavirus in Wales to date, while over 14,300 cases of the virus have been confirmed in the country.
Photo Credit: Welsh Government