Funding shortage to slow NHS roll-out of telecare

Efforts to boost the use of telecare in the NHS will be blocked by a shortage of funds caused by the NHS efficiency drive, according to a senior NHS expert.

Dr Mark Dancy, England's clinical chairman of the NHS Heart Improvement programme, said tight budgets would not allow GP commissioners to invest in telecare unless extra savings were found elsewhere.

The warning casts doubt on DoH plans to push for a wider roll-out of the technologies, which it believes can improve care for people with long-term conditions while saving money.

Speaking at a telecare event hosted by the Royal College of Physicians in London last week, Dr Dancy said: 'It is unlikely that projects which require investment to save will go ahead initially unless savings are found elsewhere.'

He added that only projects essential to the delivery of the NHS reforms or the Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention (QIPP) agenda were likely to be funded.

With the NHS facing £20bn of efficiency savings, this would mean telecare takes a back seat, as it often requires extensive investment to set up in a region, he said.

David Barrett, a telehealth lecturer from the University of Hull, said the NHS required better evidence that telecare was effective before any mass roll-out. 'What is needed is high quality evidence showing high cost saving,' he said.

The DoH has previously stated its intention to introduce telecare on a wider scale (GP, 26 November 2010). The department says telecare can produce better clinical outcomes and cut unplanned hospital admissions.

But clear evidence for the clinical and cost effectiveness of telecare is lacking.

In May 2008, the DoH commissioned a two-year national pilot called the Whole System Demonstrators project, said to be the largest RCT of telecare in the world.

More than 5,800 patients from GP practices in Cornwall, Kent and the London borough of Newham were enrolled in the scheme, which assessed the effect of telecare on health and social care costs and outcomes.

Findings from the project are due imminently after a delay of several months. It is believed the results, if positive, would then be used to make the case for a wider roll-out of the technology.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

'Unrealistic' wage bands could mean PCNs lose funding for new staff

'Unrealistic' wage bands could mean PCNs lose funding for new staff

Salary bands for clinical pharmacists working in primary care networks (PCNs) are...

GP at Hand now has third largest patient list in England

GP at Hand now has third largest patient list in England

Controversial digital-first provider GP at Hand now has the third largest registered...

Why the RCGP should change its stance on assisted dying

Why the RCGP should change its stance on assisted dying

The RCGP is currently surveying members for their views on assisted dying. Dr Zoe...

RCGP urges caution over call to scrap home visits

RCGP urges caution over call to scrap home visits

Workload pressures are forcing GP practices into tough decisions about which services...

Labour promises 5,000 GP training posts and premises boost in £26bn 'NHS rescue plan'

Labour promises 5,000 GP training posts and premises boost in £26bn 'NHS rescue plan'

The Labour party has promised a £26bn real-terms increase in NHS funding by 2023/24...

European GPs registering to work in NHS dropped after Brexit referendum

European GPs registering to work in NHS dropped after Brexit referendum

The number of European GPs registering to work in the UK has dropped since the 2016...