Sunderland: a telecare marker and challenge (UK)

Neil Revely, Director of Health, Housing and Adult Services at Sunderland City Council describes how the council and the PCT this city in Northern England have got to grips with building on the advantages that telecare systems bring.

“The benefits of telecare have been felt across the council and also the PCT – it supports the work done by community dementia teams, overnight services as well our health and social care professionals. It has also reduced the burden on the ambulance and A&E services, as the telecare monitoring and responder service helps reduce the number of avoidable admissions, by providing community care at an early stage.

“In the last three years Sunderland has seen a drop in the number of people admitted to residential care from 110 per 10,000 to less than 80 per 10,000 and as the cost of residential care is the biggest and most expensive expenditure faced, this has realised significant cost savings.

“The cost savings have been reinvested into additional preventative models of care creating a virtuous circle which is continuing to improve healthcare outcomes and make best possible use of resources. Investing in more frontline prevention puts us into a position to meet tomorrow’s health and social care challenges head on.”

Anyone who has been involved in telecare in the UK since the days of the Telecare Policy Collaborative (2004/05) will recognise that this is just the sort of outcome sought nationally from the Preventative Technology Grant (2006/08). So, in a sense, Sunderland represents both a marker as a baseline implementation and a challenge to other councils that have not got anywhere near it yet.

Read the item: Telecare keeping people safe and independent in their own homes

Non-UK readers may need to know that ‘FACS’ mentioned in the item stands for ‘Fair Access to Care Services’ and is the mechanism through which councils with social services responsibilities ration their budgets by restricting funding in most cases to people who are assigned to the top one or two bands. That Sunderland provides funding to people in all four bands is a remarkable achievement.

Information re FACS