Patients will 'manage condition at home', says Hunt
Published on 14 November 2012 05:30 PM
Speaking at an Age UK conference, Jeremy Hunt has announced plans to roll out telehealth - as a way of giving people with long-term conditions control over their own care.
Telehealth is the use of electronic information and technology to help people manage their health independently, reducing the need to go to the doctor or hospital.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: 'Technology can help people manage their condition at home, free up a lot of time and save the NHS money.
'In a world where technology increasingly helps us manage our social and professional lives, it seems logical that it should also help people manage their health.'
For older people, this can mean staying in their own home
Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General at Age UK, explained what the announcment could mean for older people:
'Empowering people to respond to changes in their long-term conditions or helping them take control of their symptoms could help them to remain independent for longer and avoid the need for health services.
'For older people, this can mean staying in their own home and retaining confidence to carry on with their day to day lives.
'We welcome this strong commitment to self-management of long-term conditions.
'Whilst Telehealth is not a replacement for face-to-face appointments and direct care, it could give many people a real chance of taking control of their health and improving wellbeing.'
100,000 people to benefit next year
Hunt confirmed that seven ‘pathfinders' - NHS and local authority organisations including clinical commissioning groups - are to agree contracts with industry suppliers that will mean that 100,000 people will be able to benefit from telehealth in the course of next year.
This commitment alone is on a scale never before seen in the UK and already makes England the leading centre for telehealth outside the US, but the move is a part of the overall ambition to have three million people benefit from telehealth by 2017.