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Patients Sign Up For Taking Own Readings

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6:01am 13th May 2014

Nearly 500 patients across Bucks have signed up to a scheme which allows them to take their own health readings at home - and then text them in to the doctor on their personal mobile phones.

The project, run by Buckinghamshire County Council in conjunction with NHS Aylesbury Vale Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Chiltern Clinical Commissioning Group, gives patients more flexibility in their daily lives because it can save them from having to make an appointment with their GP.

The scheme, called Simple Telehealth, was only made available last October, but almost 400 patients across 40 surgeries have signed up to it.

Adrian Timon, Telehealth Project Officer at the Council said:

"We must stress this is only done in safe situations as GPs will assess patients' suitability. However, allowing people to take their own readings or bodily measurements removes the stress and anxiety that some may feel when they go to the doctor's.

This system allows you to send in readings over a period of time at your own convenience. Patients continue to engage with their GP surgery without the need to come in, saving both time and travel costs and freeing up GP time."

The system is mainly used for monitoring blood pressure readings, and Mr Timon has supplied monitors to the surgeries who have taken part in the initiative.

Suitable patients, who would already have been assessed by their GP, are lent the monitors, and then asked to send in the results by text. These go into a secure website portal and are then viewed by the GP practice.

The innovation was first made available in Stoke-on-Trent and is being rolled out across the country by NHS England. In Buckinghamshire, it is being run by the Aylesbury Vale and Chiltern Clinical Commissioning Groups in conjunction with the County Council.

Simple Telehealth is one of a number of initiatives being led by the County Council's Assistive Technology Team.

Patricia Birchley, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing at the County Council, said:

"I'm delighted that we are at the cutting edge of this technological innovation. The most important thing is that this will benefit patients who, for a variety of reasons, find it difficult to regularly get to their GP surgeries. It will also, hopefully, mean that doctors will have more time to spend on with people who need face-to-face interaction."

Buckinghamshire GP Dr Tom Davis, Clinical Advisor for the County Council, said:

"For the healthcare professionals, the technology has enabled more accurate diagnoses and reduced the need for face-to-face contact with the patient, enabling the surgery to manage its overall workload more efficiently. More importantly, patients have needed to spend less of their time in contact with healthcare professionals, have had a greater confidence in the diagnosis and management of their condition and have been supported in self-managing their conditions."

Colin Thompson, Director of Operations and Performance for NHS Aylesbury Vale CCG, said:

"This project is a great example of how the NHS and local authorities are now working more closely together to improve the health of the local population."

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