Northern Ireland 'ahead on telehealth' but workload concerns

Northern Ireland is racing ahead of the rest of the UK in the development of telehealth, said GPC Northern Ireland. But GPs fear it is increasing workload and is not evidence based.

Dr George O'Neil, of Eastern LMC, said £47 million was being spent monitoring long-term conditions.

Northern Ireland's Department of Health, Social Services and Public Health (DHSSPS) has just established the European Centre for Connected Health (ECCH) to link telehealth systems across Europe.

It will roll out systems to monitor 5,000 patients at home in Northern Ireland in its first year.

GPs at the Northern Ireland LMCs' conference said the process of reading print-outs from the night before was time-consuming and unresourced.

Others worried that eventually the worried well would be monitored at home too.

GPC Northern Ireland chairman Dr Brian Dunn said that technology to monitor chronic illness at home was here whether GPs liked it or not.

‘Either GPs get involved and develop it, or the trusts will,' he said.

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

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