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Event explores future of healthcare

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The event was held at the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) Westlakes Campus

Using digital technology to improve Cumbria’s NHS services was discussed

A conference discussing how to improve Cumbria’s healthcare services by using digital technology attracted an audience of people from across the county.

The free event, held at the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) Westlakes Campus, considered potential solutions to West Cumbria’s issues relating to the recruitment of doctors and nurses, large NHS debts and the threat of care services being downgraded with a focus on the impact of state-of-the-art digital technology being used.

Among the invited speakers was Professor James Rourke, an international leader in the provision of health services in remote and rural areas. The Professor of Family Medicine at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada’s largest university, addressed issues relating to healthcare provision in remote areas.

The day was extremely useful. The event has commenced a conversation between agencies from across the region as to how progress telehealth in Cumbria.

Speaking about the success of the day, Professor Cathy Jackson, Head of the Medical School at UCLan, said: “The day was extremely useful. Drawing on expert knowledge from around the world and from within our own region, we are understanding the importance of not only a digital health strategy to help to solve our remote and rural health issues, but the planning and consultation with patients, clinicians, technicians and the wider health team that needs to occur before that strategy can be implemented. The event has commenced a conversation between agencies from across the region as to how progress telehealth in Cumbria.”

Dr William Lumb, Chief Clinical Information Officer at the NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group; Professor Colville Laird, Chair of the Royal College of Surgeons Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care; Dr Ian Briggs, Associate Director of Business Development at the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust; and Veronica Southern, a specialist in the innovative design development and delivery of clinical services were among the other guest speakers.

Staff from UCLan and other interested parties are meeting to discuss the possible next steps to take this initiative further.

UCLan is also creating a new research, teaching and medical education centre to help develop healthcare in West Cumbria. The West Cumberland Medical Education Centre is being developed in partnership with North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group and the Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Pic (from l-r): UCLan Professor Cathy Jackson; Tim Bonnici, The Institute of Biomedical Engineering at University of Oxford; Ian Briggs, Associate Director of Business Development at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust; Memorial University of Newfoundland Professor James Rourke; Veronica Southern, Speech and Language Therapist and teleheath expert; baby and childcare expert Professor Leslie Rourke; Professor Colville Laird ; Alison Marshall, from University of Cumbria; Dr William Lumb, Chief Clinical Information Officer of NHS Cumbria; and UCLan Professor John Howarth.


Speakers at the event

Rachel Atkinson | 18 October 2016