The first step in an ambitious £500,000 Scottish Executive funded telemedicine network is being launched today, bringing together paediatric centres from across Scotland, providing a safe and effective way of getting expert 'bed-side' advice for babies & children in hospitals all over the country.
The state-of-the-art network, made up of mobile cameras and monitors, is for the first time in Scotland, bringing the expertise of centralised paediatric specialists to the bedside of babies & children in hospitals all over the country via high quality video and sound.
The 'Intern2' system has not previously been used before in the UK, and early results suggest that it could prevent a significant number of patients having unnecessary transfers, and ensure that where a patient needs to be transferred, it is done in a way that is most efficient and safe.
At the moment, the system links Yorkhill (Glasgow), Wishaw General Hospital (Lanarkshire), Ayrshire Central (Ayrshire) and Ninewells Hospital (Dundee), but plans are already underway to expand the network to other Scottish paediatric and neonatal units.
Some of the applications of the new system include viewing heart ultrasounds from newborn babies, examining x-rays, as well as bringing concerned parents and children's specialists together to discuss a child's treatment 'face to face' whilst being miles apart.
Dr Alan Houston, a Paediatric Cardiac Consultant at Yorkhill is very impressed with the new system, he said:
"The technology involved in this project is tremendous, allowing us to interact with patients and colleagues in outlying district general hospitals in a way that has not been possible before.
"The network offers clinicians a high standard of detail that is comparable to actually being on-site with the patient, and is a truly 21st century way of allowing paediatricians to work together and make the best possible decisions for some of Scotland's most ill children."
Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm said:
"I am delighted at this development. It helps ensure that patients - in this case babies and children from all over Scotland - can have access to first-class, highly-specialised care which realistically can only be provided in a very few centres of clinical excellence.
Malcolm Chisholm continued:
"I am determined to make sure that Scottish patients get high quality, safe care and that they are able to access this care as close to home as possible. This project demonstrates how the modern NHS can bring together local access and world-class quality.
"I want to see this approach widened to benefit more patients being treated in more specialties across the NHS in Scotland."
Yorkhill, Glasgow - Ryan Taylor, 0141 201 0833
Wishaw General, Lanarkshire - Sharon Reader 01236 438140
Ayrshire Central, Ayrshire - Sandie Scott 01563 577503
Ninewells, Tayside - Mike Boyle 01382 424138