Dunbar Library is one of 10 libraries across Scotland to offer private space and the use of digital devices for Near Me appointments. Near Me is a video consulting service that enables people to attend appointments from home or wherever is convenient. The service is already widely used across NHS Scotland for health and care appointments with around 20,000 consultations being held every week. The service is now being rolled out across a wide range of public services.
From today (Wednesday 31 August), patients with a Near Me (online) healthcare appointment – but no internet connected digital device) or suitable private space from which to join the video call – can now book a private room in Dunbar Library.
They will be given an internet enabled iPad they can use to connect to their Near Me appointment and can ask for support from library staff to get connected if required.
The benefits of Near Me video appointments include:
- Reduced travel to appointments: time, cost, convenience
- Reduced time away from work, school or home
- Easier to attend if you usually need someone to take you to appointments
- Enables you to have someone with you for support at your appointment (either with you or joining the consultation by video from another location, even from abroad)
- Better for the environment
- Reduces spread of infectious diseases
The 10 libraries across Scotland are participating in the Scottish Government funded pilot with the aim to break down barriers to accessing appointments using Near Me. Patients with a Near Me appointment can phone Dunbar library on 01620 827827 (ask for Dunbar Library) to enquire about booking the room and iPad. If successful, the scheme may be rolled out to other libraries across Scotland.
Cabinet Spokesperson for Community Wellbeing and Sport, Countryside and Leisure, Cllr Colin McGinn, said: “It’s recognised that local libraries provide a suitable alternative to home and are ideally positioned to support people who may be at risk of digital exclusion from health and care services. They are networked with free public wifi, have access to private and confidential spaces, and have trained staff who support users with their digital and health literacy needs.”
By using libraries as a venue for Near Me, staff can have access to clients and patients without people needing to travel a great distance from home. It has also been shown that libraries have a substantial footfall with over 40 million visits in 2019 (pre-pandemic).
This initiative is a collaboration with the Scottish Library & Information Council, Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre (DHI), local authorities, health and care partnerships and the Scottish Government. The Scottish Government Technology Enabled Team has provided funding of c20K, which has been allocated to the 10 libraries to purchase equipment and refurbishment requirements through their local processes, involving IT departments.
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 health services. Based on the pilot results, the libraries will start to deliver Near Me access as part of their core service and set the groundwork to inform further rollout.
Find out more about Near Me here: Video Appointments (nearme.scot)