The doctor will see you now ... over Skype

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Cancer patients are being offered appointments with their doctor - even when they are sat across the county in a different hospital.

As part of a 12-week trial, those battling bone marrow cancer will be offered a chat with their consultant haematologist over a Skype-type video call.

With the medics currently splitting their time between Blackpool Victoria Hospital and Royal Preston Hospital, health bosses say the pilot will cut down on waiting times and avoid the need for patients to travel.

But it will work just one way for now – with only patients at Preston set to currently benefit.

A spokesman at the Victoria Hospital told The Gazette the ‘telemedicine’ appointments are not yet being offered there – though they could be in the future.

“The solution is built upon Blackpool Teaching Hospitals’ telephony system, and while the system is currently set up to work one way from Preston to Blackpool Victoria Hospital, it can be switched to work both ways,” he said.

Navdeep Kaur Brar, the research nurse in charge of the trial, said: “This is an exciting and innovative way for us to provide care to our patients.

“It allows us to work in a more efficient way, and provides continuity for our patients.”

Patients will be offered a choice over the appointments, which would be routine and not hands on examinations, and face-to-face appointments will still be on offer when the doctors are at Preston.

Edward Denny, who has been part of the trial, said: “It’s different, because the doctor isn’t in the room with you, but you get used to it.”