Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) has been offering video consultations to make sure the people who use our services continue to receive support for their mental health during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Trust has held over 1,200 calls and appointments over the last few months using this new method. It is available across most of NSFT's services as an alternative to face-to-face appointments where this is felt appropriate.
Dr Toral Thomas (pictured), Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist and Chief Clinical Information Officer with NSFT, said: "This online service gives people another way to receive our care. It doesn't require any downloads or specific kit so it's easy to access and use and, most importantly, its safe and secure. Staff have embraced the technology and the feedback we're getting from the people who use our services is really positive, with the majority very likely to use video consultation again."
Appointments via video are being offered at every opportunity to help provide uninterrupted care and keep people safe. There is a wide breadth of ages using the service, from under 18s to over 70s, with most finding it easy to join the call and feeling their needs were met.
Dr Thomas added: "Video calls are preferable to phone calls as they can help to reduce social isolation while also giving the clinician the opportunity to see their patient, in turn offering an insight into how they are feeling and the safety and support of their home environment. This should mean that people can get help and support at home without having to navigate public transport or waiting rooms when they are already feeling stressed."
To use the video consultation platform, people who use our services need internet access via a Chrome or Safari web browser on their computer or mobile device, and a webcam and headset if they are using a computer.
The Trust is also using Zoom and WhatsApp to communicate with people. As part of its' digital strategy it is also reviewing a range of communication platforms to make it as easy and as convenient as possible for people to receive care and support.
This service is provided in partnership with "Attend Anywhere", which is a secure online platform used throughout the NHS. It is accessible from the home page of NSFT's website.
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