Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Shona Robison, was today given a first look at a pilot telehealth outpatient clinic as part of the Golden Jubilee National Hospital’s ongoing service expansion and redesign.
The innovative collaboration between the Golden Jubilee and NHS Fife sees patients attend their local hospital for a high tech consultation by secure video link, reducing their travel time and speeding up access to treatment.
As part of the pilot, patients would have a pre-assessment with Fife’s nursing and ophthalmic staff before having a live video consultation with a Consultant in Clydebank.
During the visit, the Cabinet Secretary also toured the Golden Jubilee’s ophthalmology service and was given an update on the hospital expansion as part of the Scottish Government’s Elective Centres Project.
The Golden Jubilee’s ophthalmology service has continually evolved over the past several years, recently introducing Optometrist and Nurse led clinics, freeing up Consultant time and allowing them to treat over 1,000 extra patients, approximately, every year through redesign alone.
Discussing the pilot, Medical Director of the Golden Jubilee National Hospital, Dr Mike Higgins, said: “We are very excited about the potential of this collaboration with NHS Fife. By taking advantage of new technology, patients who are referred to the Golden Jubilee only need to make one trip to have their procedure, dramatically reducing the amount of travel required.
The initial stage of the pilot was carried out earlier in the year, with a second phase being rolled out in the coming months.
Ophthalmology Senior Charge Nurse, Ruth Robertson, said:
“We began piloting this initiative with 29 patients in November last year and it largely came about through our close connection with Dr Kearns, who worked at NHS Fife for a number of years before moving to the Golden Jubilee.
“By using teleheath outpatient clinics, our patients were not only seen three weeks earlier than they would usually wait, but they also saved time and money that they would have spent travelling to and from Clydebank on two separate occasions.
"Going forward we will see an extra 28 patients per month using this model"
“The feedback we have received has been really positive and you can already see where there would be enormous benefits to patients in more remote areas of Scotland.”
Discussing her tour of the Hospital and the demonstration, Health Secretary, Shona Robison, said: “This new telehealth pilot will reduce waiting times by allowing patients to be seen by a specialist without having to leave their own board area. This is a good example of the kind of innovation that is taking place across Scotland’s health service. We are investing in a series of new elective centres across the country, based on the excellent model established here at the Golden Jubilee. The Jubilee will also be expanded, and I was pleased to get an update of that work this morning.”
Dr Higgins added: “As our service continues to expand, it is essential that we continue to evolve as a national service for NHSScotland and find new ways to help treat our patients as efficiently, effectively and, most importantly, safely as possible.
“This is just one of the many ways we are working with colleagues from all across the country, and taking advantage of new technologies to make sure we are working on our Board Vision to lead quality, research and innovation for Scotland. Going forward we are hopeful that this new approach will allow this process to be put in place with more organisations, helping improve access to care for more people than ever before.”