DIY health service! Sick can take own medical readings then text them to the doctor

Doctor measuring blood pressure
Doctor measuring blood pressure

Patients can now take their own health readings at home - and text them to their doctor.

Hundreds have signed up to the £8,000 scheme, which organisers say gives patients more flexibility by saving them having to make an appointment with their GP.

The scheme, called Simple Telehealth, was only made available last October, but almost 400 patients across 40 surgeries have signed up to it.

Adrian Timon, Telehealth project officer at Bucks County Council which is a partner in the scheme, said: “We must stress this is only done in safe situations as GPs will assess patients’ suitability.

“However, allowing people to take their own readings or bodily measurements removes the stress and anxiety that some may feel when they go to the doctor’s.

“This system allows you to send in readings over a period of time at your own convenience. Patients continue to engage with their GP surgery without the need to come in, saving both time and travel costs and freeing up GP time.”

The system is mainly used for monitoring blood pressure readings, and Mr Timon has supplied monitors to the surgeries who have taken part in the initiative. So far, 300 monitors have been distributed costing the council around £8,000.

Suitable patients, who would already have been assessed by their GP, are lent the monitors, and then asked to send in the results by text. These go into a secure website portal and are then viewed by the GP practice.

Patricia Birchley, cabinet member for health and wellbeing at the council, said: “I’m delighted that we are at the cutting edge of this technological innovation.

“The most important thing is that this will benefit patients who, for a variety of reasons, find it difficult to regularly get to their GP surgeries.

“It will also, hopefully, mean that doctors will have more time to spend on with people who need face-to-face interaction.”