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Healthcare News - Most vulnerable risk being 'excluded' from digitisation of health and care services

Posted on 7/11/2018 by David Burgess

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The digital revolution of health and care services in Wales risks excluding the most vulnerable, a new report has revealed.

The 'Digital Inclusion in Health and Care in Wales' report says there's a 'real danger' that those people most in need if accessing health services will be left behind because of their lack of digital skills and access.

It says one in four people in Wales with limiting long-standing illnesses, disability or infirmity are not currently using the internet - compared with only 10% of those without such a condition.

25% of men and 32% of women aged 65 to 74 in Wales are not online, compared with only 3% if 16 to 49-year-olds.

The rapid growth in digital technologies brings transformative opportunities for people to become more active partners in their own care, interacting with services with the convenience they have come to expect in other areas of their lives.

However, many citizens with the greatest need for health and care provision are also those with the lowest level of digital skills, with lack of access, skills, interest, motivation and trust increasingly the reasons for them not going online.

– KAREN LEWIS,WALES CO-OPERATIVE CENTRE

It comes as the the Welsh Government announced £3 million to improve access to technology for health staff and patients in a bid to tackle digital exclusion.

The money is part of a new three year Digital Inclusion programme to help people access and manage their medical information online.

60%

of people in Wales aged 75 and over are digitally excluded (The National Survey for Wales 2017-18).

26%

of disabled people are digitally excluded (The National Survey for Wales 2017-18)

As this report shows, increasing digital inclusion can improve health and well-being.

Giving people the skills to access the right information and services has been shown to enable them to better manage conditions and reduce the burden on NHS services.

That is why I am announcing an extra £3 million over three years to improve digital inclusion among health and care professionals and the public.

– VAUGHAN GETHING AM, HEALTH SECRETARY

Source: ITV.com