The NHS is working with technology companies to help patients and care home residents connect with friends and relatives – with residents in Surrey being some of the first to benefit.
NHSX, a dedicated team driving digital transformation change across the health service, is working with companies to ensure some of our most isolated people can access vital emotional support and companionship during COVID-19. As part of this initiative, Facebook will be providing up to 2,050 of its Portal video calling devices for free to hospitals, care homes and other settings including hospices.
“Staying in touch with friends and family is really important during, especially at the moment when people are more isolated due to social distancing and sheilding. I wish to thank all those involved in this effort to use technology to enable some of our most vulnerable residents stay connected to their loved ones.” – Dr Ben Spencer
Fifty devices have already been delivered to pilot sites, some of which are located in Surrey. Each site will be given clear instructions on how to manage both infection control and data protection for those using these devices. NHSX is also actively exploring options for care homes without wifi, including the use of 4G hotspots or data-enabled tablets.
Minister for Care Helen Whately said:
“I’m delighted that NHSX is partnering with Facebook to make it easier for those in care homes to keep in touch with friends and family, alongside the ongoing hard work by NHSX to expand communication capabilities across the health and social care sector.”
NHSX is also working with technology companies to support the NHS and social care system, through supporting remote working, improving communications channels, and supporting online appointments and consultations.