Using Skype to help older patients get faster care has prevented 3,000 avoidable A&E visits and freed up 2,000 GP appointments.
The on-call Skype NHS team takes around 8,000 calls per year from wardens working in sheltered accommodation, care home staff and community teams. In total it equals £1.3 million and hundreds of hours of NHS staff time saved.
The project, which runs in Tameside, Greater Manchester, is part of a programme of integrated services being rolled-out across the country as part of the NHS Long Term Plan, with smart use of technology enabling quicker, more personal care delivered as efficiently as possible.
Tameside has integrated its combined £1bn NHS and local council budget over the last three years, as part of Greater Manchester’s devolved health and care approach.
The service has not only reduced hospital visits for older patients, but has also avoided ambulance calls, freeing paramedics for emergencies.
The centre makes use of the hospital’s services, doctors and nurses and provides patients with advice and reassurance via Skype video connection.
Across the country there are 14 Integrated Care Systems, which join up NHS and local government services to simplify systems between GPs, hospitals, councils and charities.