Dr Susan Copstick, Clinical Lead for Neuropsychology, from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Institute of Neuroscience, delivered the first tele-neuropsychology clinic to Stornoway last month, supported by the Scottish Centre for Telehealth.
The new service, which is being piloted for six months, means that patients can attend a consultation in Stornoway or Uist, supported by a member of staff in the Western Isles. A high-quality videolink connection enables a link to the consultant in Glasgow.
A major benefit of the new initiative is that it eliminates the need for some patients to have the long commute to Glasgow from their homes in the Western Isles for treatment.
“Reduced waiting times”
Neuropsychological assessments could be lengthy and relied on patients’ full attention and efforts, and the clinic via videolink is aimed at improving on the patient experience in neuropsychology, at the same time as maintaining accurate and reliable clinical results.
Feedback from the first clinic, was extremely positive, with all patients saying they found the appointment via tele-link acceptable and would agree to be seen by this method again.
The technology-based clinic offered an accurate and reliable assessment of some aspects of memory and reasoning and the conclusion will be further tested when patients are reassessed face to face in Glasgow and the two clinical examinations compared.
NHS Western Isles Chief Executive Gordon Jamieson, who attended the initial ‘link up’ with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde staff prior to the first clinic, said the new partnership was an excellent example of a patient-focused development.
“I am delighted that NHS Western Isles has hosted Scotland’s first tele-neuropsychology clinic in collaboration with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and the Scottish Centre for Telehealth,” he said. “The service was evaluated extremely positively by both the patients and staff involved.
“In a remote island setting, such as the Western Isles, it is imperative that we are able to embrace technology to ensure that we can provide services as specialist as possible, as locally as possible. The new service not only means that many patients will not have to travel to the mainland to see a specialist, but will also hopefully mean reduced waiting times to see a specialist.”
Dr Susan Copstick, Clinical Lead for Neuropsychology, from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Institute of Neuroscience, commented: “We are delighted to develop services which support improved access to services for patients and that will contribute to improve clinical outcomes. I found the technology very effective, and was myself surprised at how well I could get a feel for the clinical problems over a television. I am looking forward to continuing with the clinic.”
NHS 24 Medical Director, Dr George Crooks OBE, said: “This is an exciting development that clearly demonstrates how modern technology can support the delivery of high quality health services for the benefit of patients and clinicians alike.
“NHS 24 and SCT are committed to the appropriate deployment of technology solutions to support the delivery of mental health services as part of the national strategy for telehealth in Scotland. This is one of a number of key initiatives and is a great example of how by working in close partnership, health boards can deliver real benefits for patients using technology.”
SCT Service Development Manager, Cathy Dorrian, who helped set up the new service, added: “This is a good example of how services can be developed to meet the needs of patients and improve access to care.”
The development of the tele-neuropsychology clinic follows on from the extremely successful tele-neurology clinics, which were introduced in the Western Isles in July 2009. Since then, more than 80 appointments have taken place, with the patient videolinking from the Western Isles to the consultant neurologist in Glasgow.