By Betsy Everett
Dorothy Flintoft lay critically ill in the Friarage Hospital, Northallerton, anxiously awaiting a visit from the consultant who had been summoned to assess her condition at three o’clock in the morning.
But instead of walking into the ward, Dr James Dunbar appeared on a television screen at her bedside, to ask Mrs Flintoft crucial questions about her heart problem from his living room, saving vital time and scarce resources.
“I heard them say they were going to get a doctor and I presumed he would be coming into the ward. But the next thing I knew he was on the screen and started asking me questions. It was quite easy to talk and say what was the matter and what I felt like. I wouldn’t have been here today if that hadn’t happened,” says Mrs Flintoft.
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Says Dr Dunbar: “Although the video link was a bit of an alien idea, the consultation was very similar to the one I would have done on a ward round with my junior doctors and my senior nurse there with me, and Mrs Flintoff.”
Mrs Flintoft was so delighted with the outcome of the unusual consultation, one of the ways the local NHS is harnessing technology to alleviate staff shortages and rural distances, she wanted to help spread the word. She does so very forcefully in a different kind of video made by the Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby clinical commissioning group, in which Dr Dunbar, whose remote decision-making helped save her life, and Mrs Flintoft, discuss the experience. View it here. . . www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uIX2C3_qzE