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Telehealthcare Can Transform Health & Social Care, Says Leading Panel of Government and NHS Experts

03 June 2008
National "Meeting Tomorrow's Challenges" conference looks at how the latest telecare and telehealth technology supports integrated, person-centred care.

 

Telehealthcare has the potential to radically transform health and social care delivery and support the Government's goal of providing integrated, person-centred care services within the community. This is according to a panel of leading healthcare experts, directors of adult and community services and the Local Government Association.

Speaking at the "Meeting Tomorrow's Challenges" conference being held in London on 3 June, leading figures from UK charities, Local Government, Councils and Primary Care Trusts will join telecare and telehealth provider Tunstall to outline how the latest technology is underpinning the Government's health and social care policies designed to support independence, health and well-being.

Telehealthcare brings together telecare and telehealth as a combined solution, and supports the national drive for integration and a more flexible, integrated approach to health and social care delivery within the community setting, keeping people healthy, safe and in control within their own homes, in line with the Putting People First agenda.

The Government has signalled a clear commitment to telehealthcare, announcing this month the launch of its flagship £31 million Whole System Demonstrator Programme, which will highlight the potential of using telecare and telehealth solutions to provide more effective, integrated care and support for those with complex health and social care needs.

Jon Lowe, Managing Director of Tunstall said: "Telehealthcare enables social care and healthcare practitioners to deliver more joined up services, enabling clinicians and care providers to prioritise their workload more effectively and ensure best use of resources. During a five month telehealthcare pilot, Sheffield PCT reduced home visits by 80% and realised cost savings of around £35,000 – results which won the Trust a prestigious NHS Health and Social Care award for its innovative approach to addressing long-term needs such as COPD. 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."

Making telehealthcare an integral part of health and social care delivery gives patients valuable independence and an improved quality of life, as well as promoting increased self care and greater awareness amongst patients of their condition which is a key factor in improving overall outcomes.

As well as giving individuals more choice and control over the care they receive, a key benefit of mainstreaming telehealthcare is the additional support and invaluable reassurance it offers the UK's six million carers by increasing their independence.

According to Imelda Redmond, Chief Executive at Carers UK: "Telehealthcare is playing a crucial role in helping to modernise and transform 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! Indeed, our belief in the future of telehealthcare is so strong that we have called for it to be an integral recommendation for the new National Carers' Strategy."

Delegates at the conference will also be presented with real life examples of the practical applications of telehealthcare solutions within the local context, and how health and social care organisations are successfully using the technology to enable increasing numbers of service users to remain living safely, healthily and independently for longer.

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