BY JAMES TWOMEY
Heart patients will now be able to arrange video appointments with their consultants to remove the need for travel and to free up more time for doctors.
The Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust is the first NHS Trust in the country to offer video consultations from cardiology doctors.
Launched in January, the video service is used through an app called Q Doctor.
David Meynell, from Welling in Kent, was one of the first patients to benefit from the service. He said: “The video consultation was incredibly convenient.
I have multiple sclerosis and coming to hospital is a hassle; I have to get a cab and it is quite expensive.
“Phone calls feel very impersonal, but having a video appointment felt just like I was talking to my consultant in person which really put me at ease.
I just used my smartphone and it was great getting all the advice I needed without making a trip to the hospital.”
Hospital appointments will continue to be provided for patients who are required to see a healthcare professional in person, if they don’t have a smartphone or would prefer an on-site appointment.
Dr Zeeshan Khawaja, the consultant cardiologist trialling the new service, said: “We believe we are the first NHS Trust in the country to offer video consultations for specialist care.
This is a fantastic service for patients who have been discharged from our A&E and referred for a follow-up cardiac appointment.
Video appointments enable us as specialist healthcare professionals to engage rapidly with these patients to ensure that they get the care they need in a timely manner.
“We can provide important expert advice and arrange further tests where necessary without the need for patients to return to the hospital, having already been seen in the emergency department.
Offering video consultations is not only convenient for patients, but it also makes sure that we don’t lose the personal rapport that we build.
We can also be more flexible, offering appointments at times that suit our patients.
It also frees up clinicians’ time and allows us to see a greater number of patients with complex cardiovascular problems more quickly, while still delivering a high quality service.”
There are 75 GP practices in different parts of the country currently using Q Doctor and the company is trying to bring it to GPs in the Lewisham and Greenwich boroughs.