14,000 video consultations between North Wales patients and NHS staff as more services move online

MORE than 14,000 video consultations have taken place between patients and medical staff in North Wales over the last 12 months.

As part of the Welsh Government’s response to COVID-19, TEC Cymru and partners established the NHS Wales Video Consulting Service that provides safe access to healthcare online.

The service is utilised across all health settings in Wales, including pharmacies, prisons, opticians, and dental practices.

Across the country almost a quarter of a million consultations have been held, with the highest number of users in physiotherapy and speech language.

Adult mental health provided more than 34,000 video consultations nationwide during this period, and 165 wards were equipped with ‘Attend Anywhere’ technology to ensure patients could experience virtual visits from loved ones.

Figures are based on data from 22,978 clinician and patient surveys and 178 clinician and patient semi-structured interviews.

The findings reinforce the Welsh Government’s Help Us, Help You campaign, which encourages people to get to know the breadth of NHS services and options available to them through the NHS 111 Wales website.

Gemma Johns, TEC Cymru Research and Evaluation Lead said: “TEC Cymru follows a robust phased approach to its research and evaluation.

“We learn more as we move through each phase and utilise each dataset to support local Health Boards to make better informed decisions for their staff and patients.

“In the new Phase 2a evaluation VC (Video Consultation) report, we have been able to deep dive into patient and clinician experiences and identify how the benefits clearly outweigh the challenges.

“We have been able to demonstrate how well VC is working for our Welsh patients and clinicians and had the opportunity to challenge many assumptions on digital exclusion in Wales.

“The findings in this report seek to support Health Boards and the Welsh Government on future decisions and ways of working in NHS Wales, and the sustainable use of VC moving forward.”

Health Minister Eluned Morgan added: “This useful evaluation shows promising results on the use of video consultation in healthcare settings.

“It’s encouraging to see that this service has been highly rated by both patients and clinicians and I hope that it will continue to be used and developed beyond the pandemic to allow wider access to healthcare services.”

Other key feedback revealed the service is well accepted across a wide range of care sectors and specialities and is clinically suitable for a wide range of patient demographic groups, regardless of health status, age, gender, ethnicity, household income, and place (urban/rural).

TEC Cymru also discovered there is a long-term preference for VC, which tends to be associated with the significant benefits of using it, which clearly outweigh the challenges.

A series of focus groups are being held online throughout August for anyone who has used the VC service. More here: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/phase-2-data-follow-up-groups-tickets-159459861739

Please use the hashtags #HelpuNiHelpuChi and #HelpUsHelpYou to support the Help Us, Help You campaign.