Sutton Council steps up tech-enabled care for residents

Council partners with technology-enabled care provider to support vulnerable residents living independently in their own homes

Sutton Council has signed a £7m contract with technology-enabled care provider Medequip Connect.

The five-year contract sees Medequip Connect taking over the council’s care technology service, which supports more than 1,600 residents in the borough.

This includes working closely with the local urgent care response service in the area to manage a 24/7 mobile responder service, where a responder will attend within 45 minutes of a call.

Sutton’s previous telecare provision was analogue, which the council thought would have serious implications for reliability and safety with telephony lines across the UK being upgraded from analogue to digital by 2025.

The council is now transitioning customers to digital technology, which will see a digital telecare alarm installed in their homes. The alarm uses an inbuilt SIM to connect calls to the alarm-receiving centre.

The council originally went out to tender for a service provider in August 2022, looking for a key strategic partner to take forward its ambitions to “achieve a proactive, personalised and predictive care technology service that uses connected modern technologies and data-driven insights and is based on the key principles of independence, inclusion, personalisation, interoperability, privacy and security,” according to the original tender notice.

As part of the contract, the council’s independent living warden alarm call systems will also be replaced and upgraded, while the analogue equipment currently used in the borough will be migrated to digital.

Sutton Council’s chair of People Committee, councillor Marian James, said the council was “ambitious for residents of all ages” and that she was “delighted we are using Medequip Connect’s technology in such a positive way to help our residents stay safe and maintain their independence”.

“This service will help residents to remain independent, feel more confident in their home, and importantly provide an alert should a problem arise so that we can arrange the most appropriate support quickly,” she said.

“It’s a very exciting time for the council, our residents and businesses as we work together to make Sutton an inclusive borough for everyone.”

In April 2023, the government announced it would allocate £100m to accelerate digitisation in social care, a sector which has fallen behind when it comes to going digital. The £100m will be spent over the next two years on digital technologies, including digital social care records. The announcement coincided with the launch of the government’s Better Care Fund framework, which aims to ensure £16.8bn is spent on improving social care services over the next 10 years.

In March 2022, the then health and social care secretary, Sajid Javid, set out a government target to have 80% of all care providers move away from paper-based records by 2024. The government hopes this will ensure all information that staff need to support a person’s care can be available digitally.

In 2021, Falkirk Council became the first in Scotland to switch from an analogue telecare service to a digital one ahead of the 2025 switch.

Read more about social care:

  • Scotland’s five-year strategy aims to make it easier for people to access their own health and social care data, improve data flows between organisations, and transform the way data is used to enhance.
  • Health secretary wants 80% of providers to abandon paper-based records by 2024 ahead of broader plans for digital health and care.
  • A white paper outlines measures including digital care records under move to help individuals receive “better, more joined-up care”.

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