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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 May 2007, 08:39 GMT 09:39 UK
Health monitor pilot for county
Finger blood
Health monitoring can be done from patients' homes
It is hoped hospital visits can be cut in Cornwall with the introduction of a plan to enable some patients to monitor health conditions at home.

About 2,000 people with long-term illnesses, including coronary heart disease and diabetes, will be given their own monitoring equipment.

Information will be fed electronically to specialist nurses and practices to alert them to potential problems.

The county is one of three areas chosen to take part in a 5m project.

The technology pilot project will be funded by the government and will also include "telecare devices".

'Effective services'

These consist of sensors in the home which carry out simple tasks like switching lights on or raising an alarm if an old person does not return to bed in the middle of the night.

The systems are closely monitored and ensure assistance is sent as soon as it is needed.

The other areas piloting the project are Kent and Newham.

The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Primary Care Trust (PCT) said detecting problems at an earlier stage could significantly reduce the number of hospital visits.

Spokeswoman Ann James said the decision to base a pilot in Cornwall supported feedback received from patients.

"When patients need to access services they want us to provide these closer to where they live - either in the community or in their own homes," she said.

"The lessons we learn from this innovative pilot will not only help us to provide services more effectively in the future, but will be used to roll out similar programmes and services across the rest of the country."

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