Diabetic Patients Urged To Use New Technology

Healthcare professionals at Forth Valley hospitals are urging patients with diabetes and endocrine conditions to take part in telephone and video consultations for outpatient appointments, rather than attending for face-to-face checks. The arrival of Covid-19 has led to a major shift in the way services are being delivered and the use of video or phone consultations is designed to significantly reduce footfall through local hospitals to help keep both patients and staff safe. These arrangements are likely to become the ‘new normal’ for many appointments across a wide range of NHS services where patients don’t need to be seen face-to-face.

NHS Forth Valley Consultant Physician, Department of Diabetes and Endocrinlogy, Dr Nick Barwell said: “Some of our patients are turning down the offer of Near Me consultations, because they expect things to go back to normal relatively soon. But with the recent increase in Covid-19 cases we don’t expect that to be the case. We have to accept that we are now living in the ‘new normal’ so the days of a waiting room with people sitting shoulder to shoulder waiting to be called in for their appointment are in the distant past. However it is important to reassure patients that we are still here for them, and if we think they do require a face to face consultation then an appointment will be made.”

Near Me video appointments provide a level of care the same as patients are used to and allows a consultation to take place from the comfort of home or a workplace without the need to travel and wait to be seen at a hospital clinic. It also enables staff to care for a greater number of patients and, in many cases, means people will access support and advice more quickly, rather than having to wait for a face-to-face appointment. It can be accessed via a smartphone, tablet or computer with webcam.
A recent national survey into the use of Near Me which questioned 5,000 users across Scotland found 87% of the public though video consulting should be used for health and care appointments providing it is appropriate for the consultation. These included ongoing management of conditions such as asthma, and various outpatient follow up appointments.