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Your Health

Sligo Pain Clinic improves patient experience

Dr Mai O'Sullivan; Mr Tony McLoughlin TD; Mr Jim Daly TD, Minister of State with special responsibility for Mental Health and Older People; Dr Therese O’Connor; and Dr Richard Skelly.

(l to r)Dr Mai O'Sullivan; Mr Tony McLoughlin TD; Mr Jim Daly TD, Minister of State with special responsibility for Mental Health and Older People; Dr Therese O’Connor; and Dr Richard Skelly.

Patients of the Pain Clinic in Sligo University Hospital (SUH) can speak with their doctor from the comfort of their own home.

The new ‘Attend Anywhere’ Pain Clinic allows patients and doctors at the hospital to connect online using a secure platform to discuss their condition just as if they were attending the hospital for their appointment.

SUH serves a huge catchment area and patients often have to travel long distances, which may be difficult for them, to the Pain Clinic.

Dr Richard Skelly, Specialist Registrar in Anaesthesiology, SUH, who was involved in introducing the ‘Attend Anywhere’ technology, said the initiative aimed to alleviate the strain of long-distance travel for Chronic Pain Clinic appointments and reduce the frequency of attendances to the hospital in person.

“We are the first hospital in the country to use this technology to help our patients. It has been used extensively through the UK and Australia and allows us to talk to our patients and even connect by video.

“The catchment area of the hospital is very large and many patients have long distances to travel which may be difficult for them. The aim of this initiative is to alleviate the strain of long-distance travel for patients who need to attend for chronic pain clinic appointments and to reduce the frequency of their visits to the hospital.”

“The Pain Clinic team see this initiative as a significant improvement for their patients and we believe that it has potential for other outpatient services in reaching patients for whom physical attendance at a clinic may be difficult for any reason,” he added.

In addition, the streamlined access to patients would increase the throughput of the clinic and thereby reduce the length of waiting times, it is envisaged.

The hospital welcomed Jim Daly TD, Minister of State with special responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, to the hospital to view the new pain clinic in action.

Grainne McCann, General Manager, SUH said, “We were delighted to welcome Minister Daly to the hospital this week to see in person how technology can be used to improve patients’ access to the hospital and the clinical staff and also has the potential to be used by other services in the hospital, once it has been fully established in the Pain Clinic.”