Local borough residents can now access a safe and private space to attend virtual healthcare appointments – thanks to a joint initiative between Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council and the Southern Health and Social Care Trust.
Located in the Tommy Makem Arts & Community Centre in Keady, and coming soon to Portadown Health Centre, these spaces – also known as PODs – are designed to help local people attend virtual medical appointments, healthcare related groups and courses presented by or in conjunction with the Southern Trust.
Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Paul Greenfield commented:
“On behalf of council and the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, I am delighted to officially launch this innovative project within the borough. With the need and use of remote consultations on the rise – particularly evident since the Covid-19 pandemic – we understand that many people now prefer virtual appointments to attending face-to-face hospital appointments. However, we recognise that this is not always possible for some of our residents, whether that’s due to not having the right technology or not feeling comfortable to attend virtually from somewhere where family or friends may be able to overhear.
“We hope the introduction of these PODs within the borough will help address these issues and as a result help local people feel safe, connected and able to ask for the help they need.”
Free for everyone to use – with no questions asked – these PODs offer a digital solution to locals who do not have a quiet or private space at home, good internet connection or who do not have access to technology like smartphones or computers to be able to attend virtual appointments. These spaces are also ideal for people who do not feel comfortable using technology and may need assistance with logging on to their appointment.
Jan McGall, Director of Mental Health and Disability Services at Southern Health and Social Care Trust added:
“We continue to develop new and innovative ways to connect with our service users within the Trust and each POD is a private, soundproofed space which ensures all discussions are completely confidential. This is a convenient way to access healthcare support and we look forward to a second POD opening in Portadown Health Centre.”
Within each POD there is a computer monitor and sofa, providing service users with comfortable and confidential environment to attend their virtual appointment. Staff at both centres will also be on hand to guide users to the POD and advise on how to log on, using Zoom ID and password, provided by health care professional.
This initiative was funded by the Department for Communities.
To book the virtual pod at Tommy Makem Arts & Community Centre, Keady, call 028 3752 1810.