Workers Party Mid Ulster representative Hugh Scullion has called for the immediate reinstatement of a Northern Ireland wide scheme which helped monitor patients with a range of chronic medical conditions and provided home based monitoring and support for people at risk.
The ‘Telehealth and Telemonitoring’ service first introduced in 2011 has been ended without the contract being renewed despite The Public Health Agency saying that they want to further develop it.
This has been an innovative and important service which provided support and reassurance for vulnerable people and helped to remotely monitor a number of patient conditions such as high blood pressure.
“This highly successful service helped maintain people in the community, kept them out of hospital and reduced the demand on GP surgeries and outpatient clinics”, Hugh said.
“The absence of a functioning Executive and no Minster for Health has ensured that this service has come to an end. This is yet one more example of the impact which the lack of political institutions is having on vulnerable people”, he said.
The Telehealth project has been independently evaluated by a specialist team from Queens University and the Northern Ireland Clinical Trials Unit.
“One of their most dramatic findings was that the mortality rate for those with Telemonitors installed was reduced to 13.9% compared to 33.3% for those who did not have monitors installed. Telemonitors saved lives”, Hugh said
“The withdrawal of this service has greatly increased the concerns and anxiety of patients and their carers.
“I am calling on the Public Health Agency to immediately reinstate this service and to extend it to include mental health where self-monitoring can greatly improve the safety and quality of life for patients and carers”, Hugh concluded.