Headlines: June 9th, 2008

Healthcare experts,directors of adult and community services and the Local Government Association all believe Telehealthcare could radically transform health and social care delivery. They also believe it would support the Government’s target of providing integrated, person-centred care services within the community.

A panel of experts set out their views at an event in London organised by telehealth provider Tunstall, which brought together leading figures from UK charities, Local Government, Councils and Primary Care Trusts. Similar events will take place in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Leeds later this month.

Telehealthcare is designed to bring together telecare and telehealth systems as a combined solution inline with the national drive for integration and a more flexible, approach to health and social care delivery in the community, allowing people to be healthy, safe and in control within their own homes. Government support for the idea has been signalled with the launch of its 31 million pound Whole System Demonstrator Programme to highlight its potential.

Jon Lowe, Managing Director of Tunstall said,” During a five month Telehealthcare pilot, Sheffield PCT reduced home visits by 80 per cent and realised cost savings of around 35,000 pounds, results which won the Trust a prestigious NHS Health and Social Care award for its innovative approach to addressing long-term needs such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In isolation these cost savings seem impressive, but in fact the key benefit is to enable such savings to deliver increased capacity and quality to meet the growing numbers of older people who require access to high quality services.”

Imelda Redmond, Chief Executive at Carers UK, said the system was playing a crucial role in modernising and transforming social care services. “In real terms, if that means that carers have greater independence and the freedom to pursue their own careers and personal lives with peace of mind, then we embrace the future,” she added.