Mental Health

09.04.20

NHSX partnering with tech firms to help isolated people stay connected

With the ongoing coronavirus outbreak demanding strict social distancing, particularly from those in the most at-risk categories, it can be a particularly isolating time for many. As such, NHSX has teamed up with technology firms to help ensure some of the most isolated people have access to vital emotional support and companionship throughout the Covid-19 measures.

As part of this a number of major technology firms, including the likes of Facebook, have provided video calling devices free of charge to hospitals, care homes and similar settings such as hospices, inpatient learning disability and autism units.

Across pilot sites in Surrey, these devices have already been deployed and their impact has been felt by those most cut off in this unprecedented time of forced social isolation.

Manchester, Newcastle and London, as well as other areas around the UK, have also began plans to work with technology firms and the NHS to provide this connectivity to its vulnerable and isolated patients.

NHSX Digital Transformation Director, Iain O’Neil, said: “Technology companies big and small continue to pledge their resources and expertise to support our NHS and social care system in these unprecedented times.

“We are working hard to find and develop services that meet people’s equally unprecedented needs. Technology has never been so important to providing one of life’s most essential things – the ability to communicate with the people we love regardless of where they are.”

NHSX is also working with a range of technology companies to support the NHS and social care system in these unprecedented times. Additional solutions include enabling healthcare staff to work remotely when they may be advised to work at home, improving communication between clinical and care teams, shifting hospital outpatients to virtual appointments, and accelerating the use of online and video consultations within GP and primary care services.

Minister for Care Helen Whately added: “Social distancing is tough on us all, and we must remember how beneficial interaction with loved ones is for our wellbeing.

“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.”

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