Nelson Marlborough expand Telehealth Services
Saxon Connor, a specialist surgeon at Christchurch Hospital says we can’t underestimate the impact travel has on patients. He regularly consults with patients from Nelson and says it’s often those who have to travel that are in poorer health. “Technology is at a level now where, other than a physical presence, there is very little difference between a virtual consultation and a face-to-face appointment,” Dr Connor explains. “Before a consultation all the assessments have been done so the meeting is about the conversation. In my experience, a nurse or GP is always present with the patient, so I am comfortable that the patient is being supported.” He says his role is to talk to the patient about their situation and treatment plan and this can be done via video as effectively as meeting in person and it is less exhausting for the patient.
Mr La Pang is one patient who required advice and treatment from a specialist in Christchurch and was able to attend his appointment from Nelson via a video consultation. Originally from Burma, Mr Pang now lives in Nelson with his wife and family. Neither he nor his family speak English, so for the 75 year-old the logistics of travel were quite daunting. On top of this, Mr Pang’s condition affected his mobility, meaning standing or sitting for extended periods was difficult. Mr Pang was identified as a suitable candidate for a virtual consultation. So for his next appointment, rather than undergoing the discomfort of another trip to Christchurch, his sons were able to drop him off at Nelson Hospital where he met with a translator and public health nurse. With their help, he spoke to his neurologist at Christchurch Hospital via video link.