Your opinion counts. Use it! (Also see below for another cut to be made) NHS Kernow, which back in July snap announced an end to telehealth monitoring for budgetary and ‘outcome proof’ reasons, has been forced to back down on ending the program by a patient’s legal action. Ian Wyness, a 55-year-old patient with a severe heart condition, took up the fight with NHS Kernow CCG, first with letters, then in the local court. NHS Kernow is now maintaining the service to over 900 patients and on 19 Sept opened up for a six-week public consultation.
According to Cornwall Live, local people will be able to share their views about the service to 7am on Wednesday 1 November through a survey distributed online at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/KCCG-TelehealthSC or returning a printed copy. Cornwall Live also lists times and locations for four public hearings, inviting users and caregivers, on 24 and 26 October. The service will be continued until a final decision is reached by the CCG–according to them, in December.
International headlines were made in July when the plight of Bodmin resident Jill Diggett, who has five serious medical conditions that have hospitalized her multiple times, but has stayed out of hospital with telehealth, went viral via Cornwall Live, many publications like TTA, and an ITV interview where she begged the CCG to ‘Let me die at home’ [TTA 7 July]. Ending her service would not only affect her and her husband’s quality of life, but also made no sense financially with the daily cost of her long hospital stays. The promise of transitioning her care to a distant Cornwall location also hadn’t been kept.
Mr. Wyness is a former RAF service member from Davidstow who had his own dramatic medical experience leading to telehealth monitoring. In one day in 2012, he had been resuscitated 14 times in three locations due to his heart condition. Telehealth now monitors his blood pressure. When monitoring staff noted a drop, he was taken to hospital ‘just in time’. When the closing was announced, Mr. Wyness went to court with the assistance of the Leigh Day firm. They made and won a legal argument that closing telehealth services without consulting with members of the public was illegal. “I decided to fight for everyone because many patients who use the service who may have dementia or may be old are unable to take on that fight.” Bravo! Hat tip and thanks to Suzanne Woodman for the follow up.