As readers will have noticed by now I’m fascinated by using technology to improve healthcare!
So I was presently surprised to discover the UK’s government actually doing something useful for once.
It seems caregivers could soon be using smart phones, email alerts and pop-up care centres to help them plan and co-ordinate formal and informal support. The ideas will be trialled as part of £1.6 million of pilot projects announced .
It seems that there are 5.4 million carers in England and 57.7% are women . Caring responsibilities fall most heavily on women aged 50-64 and 12.1% of women work full time alongside their caring responsibilities.
There are more than three million people who currently have work and family caring responsibilities. Giving them support to manage caring alongside paid work would benefit them and their families and give British businesses and the UK economy potential saving of up to £1.3 billion a year.
The nine pilot areas will explore how technology can be combined with professional support from the Local Authority and the assistance of informal networks of friends, neighbours and Time Bank volunteers to ease the pressure of caring. For example, one pilot will monitor cared for adults by telephone every day at an agreed time, then contact the carer by email or text to confirm that they do not need assistance.
The pilots will also explore how businesses can give employees with caring responsibilities more help, for example by promoting flexible working patterns and setting up carers ‘surgeries’. One pilot will also set up a pop up business school to help carers set up in self-employment.
There will be nine pilot sites across the country: North Tyneside; Northamptonshire; Cheshire West; Gateshead; Bury; North Somerset; South Gloucestershire; Staffordshire and Stoke; and Sefton.