We have all witnessed rapid changes to services over the last few months due to unforeseen circumstances.
Healthcare, also, has not been the same, and traditional models of care are changing and adapting due to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Whilst we adopt new technologies and change how we provide safe and good quality of care to our patients, we have to be mindful of not creating a health gap.
As hospitals and GP surgeries provide advice and care on the telephone, video calls or via online consultations, I want to reassure you that we have not forgotten about the needs of those who can’t access healthcare using these new platforms. Our local commissioning group and local council have always believed in equal access to services and we have been working very hard to not create health inequalities amongst our population.
This pandemic has fast forwarded a lot of information and technology related changes and, as we have worked at pace to maintain essential services, we have been very careful to not marginalise anyone and create any inequality. Digitalisation is crucial for improving access to care and to facilitate innovative ways to deliver health care but digital inclusion has to run parallel to this so that we look after everyone in the same way.
The NHS Long Term Plan makes a commitment to a more concerted and systematic approach to reducing health inequalities and addressing unwarranted variation in care. At North Lincolnshire CCG, we acknowledge that some people will never use digital services directly but will benefit from others using digital services and freeing resources to help them. We are also aware that people with the greatest health needs are also the most at risk of being left behind and we will strive towards building digital services keeping this in mind, ensuring the highest levels of accessibility where possible.
I hope that you all will take necessary precautions to avoid a second wave whilst we work towards transforming local health care service without creating a gap.