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Minister Simon Hamilton has visited the Telemonitoring NI Centre at Fold where he was given a tour and met with Fold''s triage nursing and TeleCare teams.
Mr Hamilton said, “The opportunity to speak to staff here at the centre has given me a much clearer insight into how the service operates and interacts with clients on a day-to-day basis. The support it provides gives patients and their carers reassurance, as well as more confidence in managing their conditions.”
Telemonitoring NI enables sufferers of long term conditions such as diabetes, heart and respiratory conditions and post-stroke management to have a daily check kept on their vital signs such as blood pressure and pulse. Service-users take their readings at home using a small electronic hub, and then transmit them to the telemonitoring centre where they are reviewed by a team of professional nurses.
The centre also runs Telecare services across Northern Ireland, whereby sensors are used to enable people to continue living independently at home with reduced risks associated with falls and other emergencies.
The Minister added, “There can be no question that in the context of our ageing population, we need to be maximising the potential of solutions such as telemonitoring, telecare and other assistive technologies which can support independent living. To be fully effective in this, we need to work in partnership with other agencies – housing providers, councils and the community and voluntary sectors.”
The Telemonitoring NI service is run by the TF3 consortium which comprises Fold TeleCare, Tunstall Healthcare and S3.
Concluding Minister Hamilton said: “The TF3 consortium must be commended for their efforts in recent years to develop and grow this service, which has undoubtedly improved the lives of a great many people here in Northern Ireland.”
Fold''s Chief Executive, John McLean said, "The beauty of the system is its simplicity. The equipment is easy for clients to use and they are able to manage their conditions from their own home. The data and information goes to professionals who are able to advise and take any necessary action instantly.
He added, "The TF3 service delivery model has proved to be a very successful, values driven, commercial venture. Our partners benefit from a high level of assurance, with oversight from the TF3 and Fold Housing Association''s board."
The Telemonitoring NI service was procured by the Centre for Connected Health and Social Care (CCHSC) within the Public Health Agency on behalf of the five Health and Social Care Trusts in March 2011 and came into operation in December 2011.
The contract was awarded to TF3, a consortium of Tunstall Healthcare, Fold Telecare and S3 Group, and represents an investment by the Department of £18m over the six year period until 2017. To find out more about Fold''s Telecare service visit www.foldtelecare.com
Pictured above: Health Minister Simon Hamilton with Barbara Taylor, TeleCare Consultant and Debra Regan, TeleCare Supervisor at the Telemonitoring Centre NI at Fold, Holywood.'