Sir_Lockwood_Smith_Visit.jpgRt Hon Sir Lockwood Smith, New Zealand High Commissioner to the UK, visited the TF3 Telemonitoring NI centre in Holywood to see first-hand the fantastic support being offered to people who live with long-term conditions across Northern Ireland.

The visit was part of a programme of activities which had been organised to showcase Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland.

The Centre which operates a telemonitoring service for Northern Ireland on behalf of the Centre for Connected Health and Social Care (CCHSC), part of the Public Health Agency (PHA), was delighted to welcome Sir Lockwood.

The Telemonitoring NI service provided by the TF3 Consortium, has to date benefited in excess of 2,000 patients with long-term conditions in Northern Ireland, helping them to better manage their health. In addition telecare is also a service being provided to facilitate the care of people in their own homes as there will be a prompt and appropriate response to any emergency. People of all ages and abilities can be supported by tailoring the sensors and alerts to address their own personal risks helping to make them as independent as possible.

Eddie Ritson, Programme Director of the CCHSC, said: "I was delighted to welcome Sir Lockwood to the TF3 Telemonitoring NI Centre in Holywood, to see first-hand the telemonitoring service in action.

"Colleagues learned about the clinical triage service, which is delivered in Northern Ireland by nurses to monitor readings such as blood pressure and weight on a daily basis. Telehealth allows patients who would otherwise have to travel to their GP or hospital to be monitored in their own homes. This not only reduces stress for patients but also helps them in understanding and managing their condition."

Fold Chair, Diane Fitzsimons, said: The managed service provided by theTF3 Consortium is believed to be the first large scale telemonitoring service of its kind in Europe and is a key element in Fold's overall telehealth and telecare service offering."

"The service has an ambitious programme for development and next year we plan to work closely with CCHSC and Health & Social Care Trusts to accelerate the uptake of telehealth into broader clinical conditions as well as expand the use of telecare."

Sir Lockwood said: "Our visit to the Telemonitoring NI centre in Holywood opened our eyes to the new innovative ways of managing chronic conditions. I believe New Zealand and Northern Ireland have much to learn from each other in this area and we look forward to further exchanges and co-operation. Supporting people to live independent lives in their own homes is a priority for us both."

Pictured L-R: Eddie Ritson - Programme Director of the CCHSC; Diane Fitzsimons - Chair, Fold Housing; Rt Hon Sir Lockwood Smith - New Zealand High Commissioner to the UK; John McLean - Chief Executive, Fold Housing Association