A new digital health hub piloted in Nailsea has proved to be such a success that the NHS is scaling it up across England, as demand increases from councils in North West London, the Wirral, Blackburn, Middlesbrough and Stafford.
The digital health and wellbeing learning centre has become a trusted place on the high street where staff and volunteers can help people to improve their digital skills and confidence, so they can engage with online services.
So far the initiative has engaged 1,340 people including those with dementia, diabetes, autism and those acting as young carers, with assistance offered ranging from contacting friends and family over Skype, to ordering a repeat prescription, to choosing a preferred hospital provider for a surgery or appointment.
Ian Morrell, development manager at Nailsea Town Council said, “The digital revolution has created disadvantages which did not previously exist, and many people feel excluded and left behind. At No. 65, we have aimed to build trust with the local community, and provide one-to-one support, introducing people to technology in an accessible way so they can see the benefits digital can provide.
When people come to us for help with technology, the first thing we do is find out what they need - so we are providing a service that is led by users, and which ensures they get what they want from the support we can offer.”
The project is part of the NHS’s Widening Digital Participation Programme which aims to make digital health services and information accessible to everyone, particularly the most excluded people in society.