East Riding of Yorkshire clinical commissioning group is axing its telehealth service because it is not cost effective.

In a letter seen by EHI, the CCG tells GPs it will decommission all telehealth services. Patients and care homes can continue to use the devices until 31 December.

It says that an evaluation of the programme did not demonstrate cost-effectiveness.

“The existing body of evidence on the cost effectiveness of telehealth is limited to a narrow range of conditions, and indicates that any cost benefit is conditional on the effective targeting of selected patient groups,” says the letter.

“We are exploring alternative commissioning options to ensure the best use of telehealth in the future with a view to targeting those individuals who can most benefit and where clinical and cost effectiveness can be demonstrated.”

The letter gives GPs six-month’s notice to get other services in place.

“This will allow us to put in place any necessary measures to ensure that patients continue to feel supported and to receive the same level of nursing care they currently access,” says the letter.

“It was agreed that alternative commissioning options would be explored, including assessing which technologies best support what needs for small and specific patient groups.”

It adds: “This will include sufficiently robust evidence of clinical and cost effectiveness for the use of telehealth, with consideration being given to pay-as-you go options.”

East Riding of Yorkshire first commissioned telehealth services for remote physiological monitoring together with the local council in 2010, rolling out 160 telehealth units. In 2012 a further 50 units were added to the programme.

As part of the Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Telehealth Hub, the East Riding telehealth service was evaluated by the University of Hull and featured in a report on the scheme by think-tank 2020health.

The evaluation found that although user satisfaction was reported as generally high, 17% of deployments were ended early, “often as a result of user request”.