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Scotland extends Near Me video consultations


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Scottish Government is extending the Near Me video consultation scheme for patients for use in community settings such as libraries, community and health and care facilities.

It is setting up 55 hubs across the country with areas for private video consultations.

They will provide a private confidential space, good connectivity and help for those with low digital confidence or no access to a suitable device. 

It said the platform is already being used for around 40,000 consultations a month in people’s homes, from where it will remain available.

Near Me consultations – which were expanded on a national scale in 2020 - include hospital outpatient GP appointments and a range of other services including for care homes, dietetics and mental health support.

The announcement said patients should be offered the option of a Near Me appointment, if appropriate, by the hospital, GP practice or other service, along with details of a website address for its video clinic.

Benefits and options

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “Face to face appointments will always be there for people who need them, but Near Me has many benefits to patients, including saving time and money. It is valuable in giving them options on accessing healthcare in a way that is easy and comfortable for them.

“It allows multiple family members to join consultations and saves patients having to take time off work or organise childcare.

“The platform has also reduced the need for travel, saving an estimated 57 million miles of travel since January 2020. That is so important at this time when we are looking at fuel costs and the impact on the environment.”

A feedback survey of nearly 25,000 users reported an average saving of 36 miles per visit – around 1.4 million miles a month. It also revealed that 92% said the system was easy to use and 97% would use it again.

The service is based on the Attend Anywhere video system.

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