BT has taken over management of 1,200 telehealth users in Cornwall from Peninsula Community Health.

The telehealth and telecare project is part of a ten year BT-Cornwall partnership between the company and Cornwall Council, Peninsula Community Health and Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Around 11,000 telecare users were transferred to BT in July. However, the need for the company to get Care Quality Commission registration meant there was a delay in the telehealth patients being transferred until this month.

More than 20 Peninsula Community Health staff were also officially transferred to BT yesterday.

Dave Tyas, subject matter expert for telehealth on the BT Cornwall project, said Cornwall was part of the Whole Systems Demonstrator programme, after which telehealth became a mainstream service in the area in early 2010.

Some patients transferring to the BT service today have been on telehealth since the WSD pilot more than four years ago.

He said numbers of patients have increased significantly recently, with more than 500 installations over the past 12 months. The service has now had patients referred from all 69 GP practices in the area.

Tyas said the telehealth service works closely with referrers such as GPs and consultants to identify groups of patients that would benefit from remote monitoring.

This has seen the service expand to cover people at risk of falls and urinary tract infections, as well as core long-term conditions such as heart disease chronic lung disease.

Ian Dalton, president of BT Global Health, recently told EHI that he wanted BT to be seen as the leading provider of telehealth in the country.

“I think five years from now telehealth will be established as part of the gold standard care pathway for patients with long-term conditions,” he said.

Last year, the council’s £800m strategic partnership with BT was put on hold, after councillors voted to not proceed to the final tender stage.

After debating the deal, councillors voted in favour of a revised, “slimmed down” version where BT provides IT services, document management, payroll and telehealth services to the council. The 10-year deal is worth more than £150m

The deal aims to generate savings of £17.6m over the contract period, as well as creating several hundred new jobs.