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Need to make digital care part of the ‘new normal’ says Lee Waters MS

NHS Wales has received high praise from Lee Waters, with several digital transformations fast-tracked during COVID-19 set to stay for good.

People can now meet virtually with their GP, secondary, and community care services from the comfort of their own home, with 97% of patients so far rating the experience as excellent, really good or good.

As the Minister leading digital modernisation across Wales’ economy and public services, Mr Waters said:

“I have been hugely impressed with the swift roll-out of this technology across the NHS…This new service will provide an immediate benefit of keeping practices and patients safe from unnecessary contact, and a longer-term dividend of moving care closer to home.”

Video consultations were already on the horizon for the NHS according to Llanelli’s Member of the Senedd, but he went onto add that during the pandemic, “the pace of digital transformation has accelerated quite dramatically.”

During lockdown, virtual outpatient activity has more than doubled in Wales, with over a thousand remote consultations now taking place every week.

Recognising the importance of including those usually left behind by digital advancements Mr Waters said:

“In partnership with Digital Communities Wales, we are expanding a digital device loan scheme. This will prioritise care home residents, and we have so far trained staff in over 300 homes to be able to help their residents use this new service.”

“We want to help those who sometimes feel a little daunted by new technology, not only in maintaining a virtual link with their doctors, but friends and family too at this difficult time.”

Additional NHS modernisation efforts are being made in critical care, with a new electronic system for patient management, and a ‘Consultant Connect’ portal, where primary care clinicians can gain rapid and direct access to hospital specialists for guidance.

Welcoming the breadth of digital transformation in Wales’ public services, Mr Waters said:

“Necessity really has been the mother of invention during this pandemic, and it has given us a real head start on the revolution in digital and automated technologies which is coming over the hill. We’re really starting to see what aspects of normal life can and can’t be done close to or at home, and I will continue to make the case for digital tech to be at the heart of these ways of living and working.”

Tonight (Fri 19 Jun) lee Waters will be doing a live Q&A on Facebook live at 8pm. You can watch and ask questions here: https://www.facebook.com/leeforllanelli

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