A new health advice service which is targeted at patients who do not have access to the internet has been launched in Scotland.
NHS 24, the advice and information facility offered by NHS Scotland, has introduced a new digital TV channel which delivers health advice directly to homes.
It is thought the people who are most likely to benefit from the channel are elderly members of society and those from deprived areas of Scotland – people who are unable to go online for health advice.
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The NHS channel is also being used to launch a pilot scheme in conjunction with the Dunblane Medical Practice, looking at the possibility of booking appointments and ordering repeat prescriptions through the TV.
If successful, it hoped the scheme will be rolled out across the whole of Scotland.
NHS 24 has been praised for offering this innovative new service. Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “We want to ensure that more people in Scotland can access health information and advice where and when they need it, particularly those who need it most.
“Many Scots, including those living in our more deprived communities and older people, do not have access to the internet at home. Now they can access this information, quickly and easily through their televisions,” she added.
She says the TV channel has already proved to be a success. “Since it went live, there have been more than 30,000 contacts a month accessing the channel from their front rooms in Scotland and that is set to increase,” Sturgeon explained.
“The NHS doesn't stand still and this is a fantastic example of how we are constantly updating the way that patients interact with the NHS to make sure that we deliver a top quality service.”
Meanwhile, the Head of Health Information Services at NHS 24, Lynne Huckerby, commented: “Although in a digital age, many people access their information through the web and with their phones these days; around 39 percent of the Scottish population do not have access to the internet.
“However, more than three million people in Scotland now have access to digital television and it is vital that we are able to broaden our reach to as many people across the country as possible.
She added: “The ability to get good quality health information is a right that everyone should have and by investing in this new service, we hope that we are opening up access to even more people.”
The new channel is available through Freesat, Sky and Virign television services.
People with smartphones can also access the information and advice service, which is compatible with iPhones, iPads and Android phones.
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