Gateshead joins a number of councils, including Newham, Essex, and its neighbours Newcastle, to offer free telecare trials to older people meeting certain criteria. For discussion of the value of such trials, see TA item Newcastle (UK) 6 months’ free telecare for people over 85.
Free Telecare Trials North East
I am glad to see Gateshead offer this service. However I am a bit concerned as to the link with the Newcastle trials. As yet there has been no feedback on the trial at Newcastle (not unusual). I again express my concern over these offers as they have to have project monitoring put into place and a full evaluation of the project and service delivery and improvements. From recent information gathered these trials have not been very successful and the take up very slow. Also the amount of equipment being returned is very high. I am wondering have Newcastle evaluated the offer and released the figures and financial costs/savings?
The fact that certain north eastern authorities have installed flood detectors into every sheltered accommodation property and given falls detectors to everyone in sheltered housing, smoke detectors etc. (even if they didn’t need one) this allowed the services to hit their targets and claim over 1000 telecare users seems to have backfired, as the unused units are being returned in large numbers from those who do not require them. All these types of projects must be fully evaluated and published for the market to succeed.