The use of digital technology across NHS Wales has accelerated over the last couple of months as a result of the pandemic, as healthcare providers work to ensure that people are still able to access advice and services from their homes.
During the coronavirus crisis, virtual outpatient activity has doubled, Business News Wales reports, and more than a thousand remote consultations are now held each week via the NHS Wales Video Consultation Service. Since its launch, more than 8,000 consultations have been held.
The systems are helping to support key services such as diabetes clinics, outpatients, community midwives and nurses, GPs, community mental health teams and health visitors, providing them all with a visual link to their patients at this difficult time.
Digital Communities Wales is also being supported by the Welsh government to expand their device loan scheme by 1,100 devices, with supply to care homes prioritised so residents are able to access health and wellbeing services.
And Wales is now the first UK country to offer all NHS primary care clinicians with Consultant Connect technology, in order to enable rapid access to hospital specialists for advice and guidance on the conditions of patients.
Other steps that have also been taken include making medical images available to view across health board boundaries, so that clinicians are able to access more information about patients far quicker, leading to faster diagnoses and reductions in both admin and transport costs.
“The new systems in place are not only responding to social distancing measures to protect people now, but will provide long-term benefits for the NHS here in Wales.
“We have acted quickly to roll out these services, which are very much a part of our plan for health and care – A Healthier Wales, to provide care closer to home within the community and in people’s homes,” minister for health and social services Vaughan Gething said.
New Office for National Statistics data shows that the number of weekly deaths involving covid-19 in SWales has now dropped to the lowest number since the end of March.
According to the BBC, there were no new coronavirus deaths registered at all in Pembrokeshire, Caerphilly, Ceredigion and Blaenau Gwent. Overall, deaths occurring up to June 5th in Wales now total 2,317.
And the number of care home deaths is also falling, with 27 either confirmed or suspected as cases in the most recent week. The peak in April, meanwhile, saw 125 deaths in just one week.
UK experts have also just said that dexamethasone, a low-dose steroid treatment, can help save the lives of patients who are seriously ill with the virus – and it is now part of the biggest trial in the world testing existing treatments, successfully cutting the risk of death for those on ventilators by a third. It also cut the risk of death for those on oxygen by a fifth.
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