Falkirk launches digital telecare platform

Service supports help for elderly residents

Falkirk Council claims to be the first local authority in Scotland to launch an end-to-end digital telecare service.

Telecare is a remote support service that allows elderly people to get help round the clock by triggering an alarm. That could be, for example, a pullcord, a pendant worn around the neck or a pressure mat that detects movement. The alarm puts a call through to a central call centre, which will then summon help.

The Mobile Emergency Care Service (MECS), which is delivered in partnership with the Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership, currently helps 4,000 vulnerable people in central Scotland live independently at home.

The service has traditionally relied on analogue phone lines to operate, but Falkirk has now switched to a fully digital service, four years before telecoms providers switch off all analogue phone lines in 2025. The service has been tested on a group of low-risk clients and 20% of users have been migrated over to the fully digital service. The team is now working to transfer the remaining 3,200 MECS service users to the digital service by end 2021.

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This progress has been recognised by the Digital Telecare for Scottish Local Government Programme with a Gold Level 1 Digital Telecare Implementation Award.

Pauline Waddell, team manager at MECS, said: “Becoming the first council in Scotland to not only go live with an end-to-end digital telecare offering but also achieve recognition for it, is testament to the hard work undertaken to safeguard the critical service by all those involved in the project. It is only through their innovative thinking, collaborative working and quick decision making that the digital transformation of this service has got to this stage.”

Martyn Wallace, chief digital officer for the Digital Office for Scottish Local Government and senior responsible officer for Digital Telecare in Scotland, said: “Receiving the award is a significant achievement and robustly demonstrates the overall functionality and effectiveness of Falkirk Council and Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership’s digital telecare solution. This enables them to confidently progress further on their journey and continue to share their learnings with other telecare service providers as leaders in the field.”


Sam Trendall

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