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Robot to aid treatment of patients in new Daisy Hill HDU

August 28, 2012

A new High Dependency Unit at Daisy Hill Hospital, Newry, which was officially opened by Health Minister Edwin Poots on Tuesday, will feature the use of a robot, allowing intensive care specialists from Craigavon Area Hospital to remotely assess acutely ill patients.

The Southern Trust is the first in the UK to use the ‘Telepresence’ robot, which will be based in the new £500,000 10 bedded unit in Daisy Hill.  The robot allows real-time patient observation, examination and interaction between staff in different locations. It has the ability to transmit heart and breath sounds and can sometimes prevent the need to transfer patients to Intensive Care.

Minister Poots said the new technology would create an “effective hospital network”.

“This use of new technology, in the form of the Telepresence robot, is at the cutting edge of innovation in our health service and makes the best use of health resources to the benefit of patients,” he said.

“Effective hospital networks and the use of innovative technologies are fundamental to the future of health care as recommended in Transforming Your Care.”

The Transforming Your Care document, compiled by the chief executive of the Health and Social Care board, John Compton, is the road map for how health services will be delivered in Northern Ireland.

The development is part of an ongoing modernisation programme for Daisy Hill Hospital and acute services within the Southern Health and Social Care Trust.

Trust Chief Executive Mairead McAlinden said: “Over recent years, the Trust has been focusing on improving how Daisy Hill and Craigavon Area hospitals work together as one acute hospital network, with each offering its own areas of expertise and providing support to the other, and together providing the safest, best quality of care. We believe that the new High Dependency Unit at Daisy Hill with its links to Intensive Care at Craigavon through the Telepresence Robot is a great example of how the Southern Trust is using our hospital network and innovative technology to the benefit of patients.”

Having attended the official opening event, Sinn Féin MLA Mickey Brady, said: “As a member of Stormont’s Health Committee and as a Newry man I take a keen interest in developments at Daisy Hill.

“This new unit, with state of the art robotic computer equipment, will enable medical professionals in Daisy Hill and Craigavon hospitals to consult remotely in real time on patient’s welfare.  I was particularly encouraged by Minister Edwin Poots’ very complementary tones regarding Daisy Hill and its staff.

“I hope that the opening of this new unit, combined with Minister Poots’ favourable words will put to bed fears and scaremongering regarding the future of Daisy Hill Hospital,” he added.

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