Chips With Everything

Thursday, 07 March 2013

Medico-Chirurgical Hall

Professor George Crooks, Medical Director of NHS24. 

‘Chips With Everything: Securing the Future of Healthcare in Scotland.’


Minute of meeting of the Society held on 7th March 2013 in the Society Hall, Foresterhill

Dr Ken McHardy presided.

The President began by informing members of a forthcoming event at which Mr Brian Lockhart and Mr Arthur McCombie would speak about their recent book: Bon Record: A History of Aberdeen Grammar School.

The President then introduced the speaker, Professor George Crooks, Medical Director of NHS24.  His subject was ‘Chips With Everything: Securing the Future of Healthcare in Scotland.’

He pointed out that technology has changed and continues to change rapidly but that the NHS is only now beginning to make use of the telephone to speak to patients.  He said that we still expect to conduct business as we did in 1948 with most patient contacts being face to face.

Demographic changes mean that there will be fewer carers but with more people requiring care, more people with chronic diseases such as diabetes and COPD. Deprived people have more difficulty accessing heath care but the government now interacts with citizens using the internet, then the telephone and only face to face if necessary.  One trillion devices are connected to the internet, which world wide mostly means via mobile phones but most websites are not primarily designed for mobile phone access.

He told of carers in Stockholm who started using mobile phones to get their daily work details and then to open the clients’ door locks.  They then use the phone to record details of their visit which instantly goes to the records and is copied to the main carer.  The NHS is now thinking about a similar system.  It is possible to use satellite television connections to book GP appointments and order repeat prescriptions.  Although the NHS is now pushing the use of technology (including telemedicine, social media, SMS texting), face to face consultations must continue to be available.  Service redesign will be required and must be well designed so as to be simple to use and tailored to individuals.

He discussed the security of mobile phones and concluded that they were sufficiently secure.

He also discussed the willingness of communities to supporting each other and technology can help, for example by giving information about available services and enabling access to them.   Technology can save money if properly used and has been proved to reduce missed appointments.  The NHS is data rich but most data is not used.

He mentioned one project relating to stroke care which links radiologist in New Zealand with Scotland so as to enable 24 hour cover for scans and another which supports pulmonary rehabilitation by the use of telemedicine.

There were several questions before the president proposed the vote of thanks.

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