Future is now as NHS trials TV technology

Eric Sefton using the SpeakSet device at his home in Poulton
Eric Sefton using the SpeakSet device at his home in Poulton
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It’s the healthcare system of the future... today.

At least that is the bold claim from the makers of the technology being trialed by a Poulton man as he became one of the first to make use of a new service that lets him talk to his healthcare team through his television.

Eric Sefton is putting the gadgets through their paces as part of a scheme to test ways of keeping people out of hospital.

He said: “I thought it was a great idea and exactly what is needed to help people in similar situations as me to learn how to live with dementia, and also have the quick access to the health care team when it’s needed.

“I’m looking forward to getting started with the kit.”

Aditya Kasliwal from SpeakSet, which provided the video kit, said the technology will transform a health care system that ‘hasn’t changed since Florence Nightingale was doing her rounds’.

He said: “We’re building the NHS of the future and SpeakSet is proving simple, accessible video calling on the TV to help patients get regular face-to-face contact with their health care teams.”

The pilot scheme, launched by the Lancashire and Cumbria Innovation Alliance, is one of seven funded by the government to see how technology can be used to improve people’s health and satisfaction at a lower cost.

As well as dementia, the pilot will also look to help those with other long-term conditions such as diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Dr Amanda Thornton, responsible for dementia patients taking part, added: “We are totally committed to providing the very best care for people and are always looking for new and innovative ways to provide this.

“The support available through the programme is flexible and is tailored to each person’s individual needs.

“We are looking forward to working with those who want to trial the range of technology, and hearing what works for them in enabling them to improve or sustain their overall health and wellbeing.”

On its website, Speakset said the TV devices cost £50 per month, though it offers health groups the chance to get in touch for a pilot plan quote.

It says the sets are easy to use, with just seven buttons on the remote, and reliable, with the devices able to ring like a phone even if the TV is off.