Barcelona Provincial Council and Tunstall Televida, the main telecare service provider in Spain, has visited the Telemonitoring NI Centre in Holywood, to see first-hand how the service is operated in Northern Ireland.

The visit to Northern Ireland’s telemonitoring centre is part of a programme of activities organised to showcase telemonitoring services across the United Kingdom.

Telecare is one of the most important services of the Department of Care for People in Barcelona Provincial Council. Used mainly used to provide security and independent living to the elderly, today telecare is utilised in 301 municipalities, serving 62,000 users. To-date more than 107,000 users have received the service since 2005,  of those more than 10% of users are over 65 and 26% over 80, one of the highest ratios in Spain.

Through partnership with Tunstall Televida, their telecare service is not only a service for emergencies but one that has evolved into a personalised, proactive care system based on the use of new communication technologies. These add-ons include personalised appointment and medication reminders, information about nutrition, leisure, social and health issues; as well as intervention in cases of extreme temperature and natural disasters.

Eddie Ritson, Programme Director of the CCHSC, said: “I was delighted to welcome the delegation from Barcelona to the TF3 Telemonitoring NI Centre in Holywood, to see first-hand how we deliver the telemonitoring service here.”

“Here in Northern Ireland, the telehealth service has to date benefited in excess of 2,500 patients with long-term conditions, helping them to better manage their health. We also have more than 2,300 clients who are using telecare services and today’s visit provides us an excellent opportunity to learn from regions like Barcelona, exchange best practices on different service delivery models for telehealth and telecare, and how together these can be used to support integrated care.”

Josep Oliva, Deputy of Social Welfare, Public Health and Consumers of the Provincial Government of Barcelona said: "Sharing experiences is one of the best ways to obtain a continuous learning, and the experience in Northern Ireland can show us other ways to guide and strengthen our telecare service from the model of public-private cooperation that we are promoting,  committed to the continuous improvement, the adapting to people with different needs and a proactive support to the most vulnerable".

Simon Arnold, Managing Director of Tunstall UK & Ireland said: “Sharing best practice from different health and care systems in Spain and Northern Ireland is a great way of progressing our thinking. This visit has helped us all consider how we take our services forward both in Northern Ireland and Barcelona.”

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Photo: L-R Front row: Soo Hun (PHA), Simon Arnold (Tunstall UK), Eddie Ritson (PHA), Josep Oliva (Barcelona Provincial Council)

Back row: Raúl Gutierrez (Tunstall Televida), John Melarkey (Tunstall UK), Kevin McSorley (Fold Group), Mar Entrambasaguas (Tunstall Televida), José Antonio Domínguez (Barcelona Provincial Council), Nacho Suárez (Tunstall Televida)