MP Bob Seely has met with staff at the IOW NHS Trust to see how the recently announced £48 million Government investment in the Isle of Wight health service will be used to aid patient care.

Earlier this month the Prime Minister announced plans to upgrade 20 hospitals across the country, ensuring the money gets to front line services. The announcement included £48 million for the Isle of Wight.

During his visit to St Mary’s Hospital this week, his second this month, Bob saw first-hand how some of the £48 million will be invested into technology that will improve patient care, reduce waiting times and make better use of NHS staff time.

Bob Seely spent Monday (August 12) morning with Brian Martin, the man in charge of Technology Enabled Care at the Trust which prevents the need for patients to make unnecessary, time-consuming or stressful visits to the hospital for routine monitoring also freeing up the time of health professionals to focus on priority cases.

An example of this was the telehealth ‘box’ – produced by Island firm Solcom – which is a unit of high-tech kit used at home by patients to monitor their own health, with the support of community nurses and loved ones.

The readings are taken by the patient or carer at home, or in their place of care, and sent straight to healthcare professionals for monitoring. The box has been successfully trialled in fourteen Island care homes and the new investment will help it to be rolled out across the Island.

Mr Martin said:

“As a Trust we are committed to embedding technology in our service delivery to support transformation of services to ensure we can effectively and efficiently meet the needs of the local population.

“The approach we have taken with technology has also shown that through better monitoring we can be more informed about the improvement or deterioration of the patient and work with the patient to make more accurate and timely decisions about their healthcare needs, especially when it comes to end of life care.

“Teleswallowing has been successfully trialled by Speech and Language Therapists who can talk to patients via a tablet which has reduced waiting times, reduced the need for patients to travel and made better use of therapist time who have reduced the time they spend travelling.

“It was great was great to meet with Bob Seely yesterday and show him first-hand the excellent innovative service changes our staff are implementing to support local people.”

Bob  said:

“The use of technology in healthcare is already helping patients to receive better care on the Island. The ‘Telehealth box’ will be an important part of delivering improved healthcare support for Islanders. It should, over the coming years, help reduce visits to Emergency Departments, fewer visits to mainland, more in home and in-nursing home care, fewer crisis, better management of illness, re-assurance in medication, reduce patient anxiety and support better end of life care.”

“Health Secretary Matt Hancock recently agreed with me that Island healthcare costs are increased because we are an Island. I will continue to make the case to Government for more investment in our healthcare system, but I am glad that technology is helping to overcome the barrier of the Solent for some patients.

“We are the only place in the South-East to win the extra money and I know that the IOW NHS Trust will use the money wisely to make better use of NHS staff time and improve outcomes for patients. Brian has lots of ideas as to how we can use technology to aid patient care and I am so pleased that he has some money from the Government to bring some of his ideas to life.”