£10 million for Scottish telehealthcare

Ten million pounds is to be invested over four years to improve care by growing the Scottish telehealthcare sector.

The project – jointly announced today by the Scottish Government and the Technology Strategy Board – will show how new technologies and innovative services can help improve the quality of life of, and support independent living for, older people and people living with long-term conditions.

The demonstration programme will involve at least 10,000 older people and people with disabilities.

In the first joint project between the Technology Strategy Board and the Scottish Government, the Scottish Assisted Living Demonstrator agreement was signed today by Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon and Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board.

Ms Sturgeon said:

“Supporting people to live independently at home is a key priority for the Scottish Government. It is what older people have consistently said they want and we know it is generally better for people’s health to remain at home wherever that’s possible.

“Over the last four years, Scotland has made significant progress on developing and expanding new technologies to help people do just that – providing effective care and reassurance to many older people.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to build on this progress and to expand even further the role technology plays in supporting twenty-first century healthcare.

“The experiences from the Scottish Assisted Living Demonstrator will also be used to inform and provide invaluable opportunities for Scottish businesses in support of economic growth.”

Iain Gray said:

“I am delighted that the Technology Strategy Board and the Scottish Government are to work together to establish an Assisted Living Demonstrator in Scotland. Scotland is a leader in the introduction of innovative technologies and services to enable independent living for older adults and people living with long-term conditions.

“This demonstrator programme, which will involve at least 10,000 users in Scotland, will be the first step towards the aspiration of providing assisted living services for millions of people across the UK.”

The key objective behind the demonstrator is to help break the barrier between new healthcare technology and the implementation and use of the technology in the public sector, such as NHSScotland, the private sector, for example in housing and in the insurance sector and the third sector, including by charities and social enterprises. Other key agencies involved in the development of the demonstrator are NHS 24, Highlands & Island Enterprise and Scottish Enterprise.

The demonstrator will also show how cost savings could be made alongside the provision of improved health benefits for both public and private provision, while opening new markets in social innovation, service innovation and wellness.

The Scottish Assisted Living Demonstrator is likely to be the first of a number that will be established across the UK by the Technology Strategy Board under a programme named DALLAS – Demonstrators of Assisted Living Lifestyles at Scale.

Further details of the Scottish Assisted Living Demonstrator programme, including the geographic focus, will be agreed in discussions between the Scottish Government, its agencies and the Technology Strategy Board.

The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led government body which works to create economic growth by ensuring that the UK is a global leader in innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy.

The demonstrator programme sponsors, and anticipated funding contributions, are: Technology Strategy Board (£5m), Scottish Government (£3.9m), Highlands & Islands Enterprise (£0.8m) and Scottish Enterprise (£0.3m). NHS 24 will be the delivery arm for Scottish Ministers and the Scottish Government’s Health & Social Care Directorate.

Further details of the programme will be developed and established by the Scottish Government, its agencies and the Technology Strategy Board over the next year, as preparations are advanced for implementation of the Scottish Assisted Living Demonstrator from April 2012.

This programme is being run through the Technology Strategy Board’s Assisted Living Innovation Platform (ALIP), which is responding to the challenge of the demographic shift – in essence promoting independence by making technology better, cheaper and more desirable. The ALIP aims to significantly advance the technology to meet the demand for independent living from the expected increase in the numbers of people suffering from long term conditions and age-related disability. By 2021 half of the UK’s adult population will be over 50 and by 2025 almost 1.5 million people will be living with an age-related disability.

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