Telehealth scheme praised by Minister struggling to deliver (UK)

Pulse Today, the online version of the magazine for UK GPs, has revealed that the £5million telehealth project in Gloucestershire which prompted Minister Paul Burstow’s praise of supplier Tunstall at the King’s Fund Congress last month is struggling to deliver despite offering GPs £70 for each referral. It says “latest figures obtained by Pulse suggest only 444 patients are currently receiving telecare with a further 13 patients currently referred and in the process of having equipment set up…A spokesperson for NHS Gloucestershire said: ‘To support the project’s implementation, NHS Gloucestershire offered GPs a referral compensation. This comprises a £70 payment for each referral made, in recognition of the extra time required to set up personalised questions for each patient.'”

Further, the item quotes Dr Paul Cundy, chair of the GPC’s [BMA’s General Practitioners Committee] IT subcommittee as saying ‘…This illustrates just how incompetent NHS managers can be. They are coming up against skilled sales people and signing ridiculous contracts that no GP would sign.’ GPs paid £70 a patient to boost flagging telehealth scheme [If you are unable to access it for any reason, please let Ed. Steve know.]

5 thoughts on “Telehealth scheme praised by Minister struggling to deliver (UK)

  1. So…you mention this is a teleheath scheme but then use a quote that says only 444 patients are receiving [b]telecare[/b].
    You do not highlight the very great difference between these two or clarify if Pulse is using telecare to refer to telehealth. One is not the other – as your sidebar points out.

  2. Grrr … another article which doesn’t make explicit exactly which technology it is discussing … I assume it is telehealth (as in daily vital sign monitoring) as per their headline – so why suddenly are they talking about telecare? Surely if one wishes to be seen to be “on the pulse” one might research terminology? no?

    It is curious that the percentage uptake appears to be very similar to that quoted for NY&YPCT. Making compensatory payments to GPs suggests that the service delivery pathways have not been redesigned.

    I am going away for a few minutes to devise a training course for the poor people having to deal with skilled sales people … it is called “NO. The complete sentence” … any takers? What’s the going rate …. hmm around £99 …

  3. @Will – it is a telehealth, not telecare project. I did assume that readers would spot that Pulse had got the terminology wrong in the part I quoted.

    @Cathy – yes, it is striking how similar the uptake has been. Given that the Gloucestershire project has been going a shorter time I also assumed this is a coincidence. However, as the total cost is £5million rather than £3million, the cost per patient is, of course, much greater.

  4. Steve, do you know if there has been any criteria written up on who usually benefits most from telehealth? I was with a trust the other week, and they said the criteria is, and meant in the nicest way possible, how many times have they been in hospital and how much are they costing the NHS. If the answer is high for both of them, they install telehealth.

    Also are there any consultants out there that will work with a trust to redesign long term condition processes? Clearly they need to go hand in hand with these £5mill investments, to ensure they don’t just sit on a shelf collecting dust.

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