COUNCIL chiefs are investing £2million to develop new technologies which will help elderly people who need care to lead more independent lives.
The plans were backed by councillors on Worcestershire County Council last Thursday (January 14), giving the council the green light to bring together care providers, service users, carers and technology companies to design new gadgets tailored to people’s individual needs.
It’s hoped the investment will contribute to savings of £3.4million the council is planning to find from their adult social care budget, with claims the new technologies will reduce the cost of care for tax payers and for those paying for their own care.
Assistive technologies which can monitor someone’s fluid intake, their behaviour and whether they have taken any medication are just some of the ideas council chiefs could invest in.
Coun Simon Geraghty, Leader of Worcestershire County Council, said: “This is eminently sensible. Clearly new technologies do present new opportunities to support people to live more independently, to help them to have that support in a more efficient way for them, their families and the council.
“Clearly we need to be looking at how we innovate and work with various care providers, users and carers to make sure we’re doing that in a sensible way. That seems a very good use of resources and clearly something an innovative and forward thinking council should be doing.”
The leader of the Labour Group at County Hall, Coun Peter McDonald, welcomed the investment, but said the money would be better off spent in-house, instead of using private firms.
“My real concern is that this £2million investment will at the end of the day, as the portfolio holder has said, will indeed help the provider,” Coun McDonald said.
“In helping the provider of course that will no doubt increase their margins of profit.
“And had this have been kept in-house, not only would we invest the money, but we would be the beneficiaries of this financially and we could have re-invested that money instead of it going to the profits of the providers.”