Tag Archives: telecare

DH must explain how telecare saves £1.2bn

Last month, care services minister Paul Burstow said telecare and telehealth ‘could save the NHS up to £1.2bn over five years’.

25 April 2012

It would seem common sense that the ability to deploy the latest technology in the NHS would result in both the savings that the £20bn Nicholson challenge demands and the improvement in the quality of patient care that is at the heart of the coalition government’s NHS ambitions.

Earlier this year, GP magazine carried a feature about success stories in south London, one of which involved how preventing 24 unnecessary hospital admissions over a year was thought to have saved £55,000 (GP, 11 January).

But, hang on, journalists and GPs thrive on evidence like that costed out for us in south London. Exactly how had the DH calculated its £1.2bn?

Who will take responsibility for rolling out ‘telecare’?

Despite the government’s enthusiasm for telecare, many GPs will be too busy trying to commission to learn how to do it


Telecare: the future of the NHS? Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

Last week, I expressed my disappointment with the King’s Fund’s International Telehealth and Telecare Conference. I am so upset that I am returning to the subject again.

For starters, I was amazed that there were only three GPs present. I found this strange, as telecare is likely to change the way GPs treat patients for ever. Or do GPs consider telehealth as just another irritating technology, like electronic patient records and email, which will go away if you ignore them long enough?

One speaker involved in the project said that GPs were divided between those who were interested, those who were not sure and those who didn’t want to know. One GP claimed that telecare increased patient anxiety and workload for GPs.

Telecare: what’s happened to the whole system demonstrators?

The patient from hell asks when the lessons from the WSD will be shared and what the delay means for the future of telecare


I am in despair about the future of telecare. You will remember that a trial, called the whole system demonstrator, covering 6000 long-term patients in Kent, Newham and Cornwall, has been chuntering along for about three years. In June last year, a Kings Fund conference announced relatively upbeat preliminary findings for the WSD. The full report was supposed to be imminent. But autumn and winter came and went, and still the report did not appear. We were told that it was just going through the necessary “peer review” process.

At the beginning of March, the Kings Fund held a two-day international congress on telehealth and telecare. Ah, thought I, naively, this is when the WSD report will finally be launched in all its glory, and will give a massive boost to the swift roll-out of telecare across the country.