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Thursday, January 26, 2023

NearMe Appointment Service Launches From Elgin Library

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A new initiative, launching on Thursday 25 August, will see Elgin library play a key role in helping local people access services, including health and social care appointments.

The ‘NearMe in Libraries’ scheme builds on the existing ‘NearMe’ video consulting service that allows people to attend appointments remotely, wherever is convenient and appropriate for them.

‘NearMe’ will be available for individual and group appointments and will be an option offered to patients at the time of making their appointment.

Individuals are able to request the dedicated, private space in the library for pre-booked ‘NearMe’ appointments by phoning 01343 562600.

The new initiative is not a walk-in service.

The ‘NearMe’ service is already widely used across Scotland for health, social care and other appointments with around 45,000 consultations being held every month.

Now, Elgin library will allow access to the technology people need to attend remote appointments.

A drop-in session between 2pm-4pm on Thursday 25 August will give Moray residents the chance to find out more about how the appointments work and what is available in Elgin library.

Moray Council’s Principal Librarian, David Hayden, said:

“Introducing the option of NearMe appointments through the library service is a great leap forward for people in Moray who may not have access to the technology required or be confident in its use.

“Our team are ready and waiting to help those who wish to make use of the confidential set-up in Elgin library as we trial this option.

“We know there can often be a fair journey for people in Moray to access appointments so if we can ease that pressure on both residents and healthcare services then we’ll consider this initiative a success.”

The NearMe option will:

  • Make accessing health and social care services more convenient
  • Make appointments easier to attend (if you usually need someone to take you to appointments)
  • Enable people to have someone with them for support at the appointment (either at the ‘Near Me in Libraries’ setting, or by joining the consultation via video link from another location – even from abroad)
  • Be better for the environment by reducing travel
  • Reduce the risk of spread of infectious diseases
  • Reduce time and cost
  • Reduce time away from work, school or home

Dr Ann Wales, Programme Director, Knowledge and Decision Support, Digital Health and Care Innovation Centre, said:

“The ‘NearMe’ initiative is a great example of how libraries are becoming active partners in the delivery of health and care. 

“It shows how libraries are ideally positioned to provide a go-to place for health information and support in their communities and confirms the key role of libraries in addressing digital inequalities.

“This project is the first in a series of pathfinder projects being progressed through the Collective Force for Health and Wellbeing action plan, all focused on libraries empowering citizens and communities to take more control over their health and wellbeing.”

Rosie Cooper, National Improvement Lead for the ‘NearMe’ programme added:

“Scaling up video consultations is a key national priority as use of video will help to allow greater and more convenient access to both routine appointments and specialist support from anywhere in the country.

“The libraries selected cover a diverse range of settings and population types and will be used to test the feasibility.

“This will include creating confidential booking systems and establishing communication and partnership with local services.”

The pilot results will set the groundwork to inform further rollout for public libraries across the country to begin delivering ‘NearMe’ access as part of their core services.

Media wishing to attend the drop-in launch event should contact pr@moray.gov.uk in the first instance.

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