Video-link consultations for orthopaedic out-patients

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Long journeys for consultations in city hospitals could be a thing of the past for Kintyre patients as a ‘hugely successful’ remote video-link service was trialled this week.

Five of Campbeltown Hospital’s orthopaedic out-patients have officially used Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership’s (HSCP) newly-developed Attend Anywhere (NHS Near Me) service, receiving access to orthopaedic specialist consultations remotely.

The video-link service provides an instant link to medical specialists located more than 135 miles away in Glasgow, delivered by NHS Highland and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

The Technology Enabled Care (TEC) aims to provide remote out-patient consultations as close as possible to home for Kintyre patients.

Specialist orthopaedics physicians and surgeons, experienced in treating patients with problems in their muscles, bones, joints and other related structures, can video call patients who meet the criteria for the service.

The service is very similar to technology used in people’s own homes to video chat via webcams and platforms such as Skype.

Catriona Watt, Kintyre local area manager, said: ‘The service has been developed by the Argyll and Bute TEC team to enable orthopaedic patients to access consultant-led appointments for which patients, as well as family members and carers, would normally have to travel to Glasgow.

‘The five patients participating in the trial were supported and accompanied by Maisili Ross, MSK advanced physiotherapy practitioner lead, based in Campbeltown surgery, during the virtual clinics.

‘I could not be more pleased with the excellent feedback received from patients, health and social care staff and patients.’

Duncan MacDonald, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde consultant orthopaedic surgeon, said: ‘I thoroughly enjoyed the clinic. I found that I was able to interact with the patients well and Marsaili, the advanced physiotherapy practitioner, was able to demonstrate the examination findings for me, such that it was a close match to being in the same room as the patient.

‘I am optimistic that this can be developed as an option for consultations, especially for those patients living in remote areas.’

Argyll and Bute HSCP staff at the hospital received feedback from patient Linda McKellar after her consultation using the innovative technology.

Ms McKellar said: ‘It is an excellent service, which ran perfectly and very professionally. It felt as if the consultant was in the room.

‘I was able to be referred for an x-ray with results reviewed during the session and received a good outcome. It was all achieved quickly and it was great not to have to travel too far.’

It is hoped that the service will have a very positive impact on waiting times for patients, improve access to specialists and significantly reduce patients having to travel to Greater Glasgow and Clyde Hospitals.