Downtime

Jul 25 2011   1:43PM GMT

NHS touts virtual visits by Skype to cut costs

WAshford Profile: WAshford

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NHS
Skype

Not only are small businesses looking to Skype to cut call costs, but NHS trusts are touting virtual hospital visits to cut costs.

The scheme is being proposed by Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to save on travel allowances for relatives visiting mental health patients due for relocation from Ascot, Maidenhead and Slough to Reading, according to reports.

Instead of travelling to the hospital for bedside visits, the trust is urging relatives who qualify for travel expenses to consider speaking to relatives via Skype as part of efforts to save £4m a year.

Unsurprisingly, the proposals have not been warmly received by mental health charities, which say people who work with computers forget that there is a community out there with people who may not have access to them, but Downtime suspects that a lack of familiarity with Skype and how to use it is likely to be an even bigger stumbling block.

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