North London Partners in health and care

NCL Facebook Portal pilot to connect patients and care home residents with families and friends

Three hundred Facebook Portals – obtained from NHSX for free by North Central London (NCL) – will be distributed across the area’s health and care providers this week (beginning Monday 20 April) to help hundreds of residents and patients connect with their friends and family at this difficult time.

 Facebook Portals are communication devices, specifically designed for video calls. Hands free and easy to use, calls are made via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger and can be received on any smartphone or tablet.

 The local roll-out forms part of a national NHSX and Facebook pilot, aimed at reducing social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 In NCL, 272 providers are taking part in the roll-out.  Those participating include: nursing homes, residential homes, extra care and supported housing sites, hospices, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Camden and Islington Mental Health Trust and also Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust.

 NCL Clinical Commissioning Group Chair and local GP, Dr Jo Sauvage said:  “Staying connected with our loved ones during this pandemic is vitally important to both our physical and mental health. 

 “So I’m delighted that these Portals will make it easy for some of our more vulnerable residents across NCL to regularly see and hear their friends and families – reducing stress and anxiety and enhancing wellbeing – until they can meet again in person in the future.”

The national roll out of the Facebook Portals pilot, follows a successful initial pilot in Surrey Heartlands involving care homes and acute hospital wards.

Subsequent phases in NCL may explore the suitability of the Portals for remote video consultations between GPs and patients in various care settings.

For more information on NCL Facebook Portals email tom.o'