PATIENTS with life-limiting illnesses across are being offered video appointments with specialist nurses and doctors from Wigan and Leigh Hospice.

The Hindley-based charity began offering video appointments on Tuesday, March 23 as a response to the global coronavirus outbreak.

Hospice Nurse Specialists and doctors who would normally visit patients in their own homes are now offering the appointments as a way of preventing transmission of the virus and protecting vulnerable patients.

Jo Carby, Clinical Director at the hospice, said: “Our patients are some of the most vulnerable people in our community and we need to do our best to keep them safe, which unfortunately means not visiting them unless absolutely essential.

“Video appointments don’t come naturally to our nurses and doctors as they are very much ‘hands-on’ professionals who want to be face-to-face and sit beside our patients. Particularly at the moment when people are feeling more anxious than usual we really want to be there for them. However, we simply have to accept that our usual way of working isn’t possible at the moment.

“I am pleased to say that we are adapting quickly and we are able to continue providing vital support and advice to our patients and their loved ones.”

Dr Anna Murray, Medical Director at the Hospice, carried out the first video appointment with a patient on Tuesday afternoon.

She said: “It is a very different way of working for us and we would much rather be there in person for our patients but video appointments really are the best way now to carry out a consultation and to keep our patients safe.

“The video consultations mean we can get more information than we would with a telephone call and patients still get an appointment with their hospice nurse or doctor which they very much welcome.”

For those patients who do not have Smartphones telephone appointments will be offered. The Hospice also has an advice line which is open 24 hours a day seven days a week to anyone from the Borough who either has, or is a carer for, someone with a progressive, life-limiting illness.

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