NHS ‘digital health hubs’ to be expanded across England
After successful pilot in Somerset, scheme is to roll out more widely
The NHS is to roll out a number of “digital health hubs” across England following a successful pilot programme.
The trial, which took place in Nailsea in North Somerset, saw 1,340 citizens visit a centre on the town’s High Street. The facility was designed to offer support with tasks including connecting with loved ones via Skype, and using the internet to order prescriptions or book medical appointments.
Users of the service have included people with dementia, diabetes, autism, and young people acting as carers for older relatives. The project was run by local NHS entities alongside the town council and the arm’s-length body Healthwatch. Its work has also been supported by volunteers, including local students.
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Following the success of the programme in Nailsea, another wave of centres are to be implemented at libraries and community facilities in Blackburn, Stoke-on-Trent, Saltburn-by-the-Sea in North Yorkshire, and at the Grenfell victims support centre in London.
Ian Morrell, development manager at Nailsea Town Council, said: “The digital revolution has created disadvantages which did not previously exist, and many people feel excluded and left behind…. We have aimed to build trust with the local community, and provide one-to-one support, introducing people to technology in an accessible way so they can see the benefits digital can provide. When people come to us for help with technology, the first thing we do is find out what they need – so we are providing a service that is led by users, and which ensures they get what they want from the support we can offer.”
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