The potential of mobile connectivity to aid the delivery of social care

A new report by Mobile UK, published today, has highlighted the enormous potential that connectivity can offer to overcome the challenges that local councils face in delivering adult social care in the UK. 

While innovation in emerging technologies is forging ahead, and other industries and sectors are taking advantage of mobile connectivity (including 4G and 5G, plus other advanced technologies like Wi-Fi 6), this new report finds that social care providers and councils are not currently set up to take advantage of improved efficiencies – with only 40% of social care providers currently ‘digitised’.

With councils struggling, both financially and in terms or resources, the opportunities that digital connectivity can offer should be better understood.

New digital devices offer adults in need of in-home living support provision the chance to live independently for longer. For every additional week not in residential care councils can save £648 per person – or £33,700 per year. Additionally, remote monitoring to ensure medication is taken can potentially reduce hospital admissions by 60% - crucial at a time when the NHS is facing its biggest ever challenge.

Help for staff

Digital solutions could also have a material impact on alleviating the social care staffing crisis by supporting better working conditions, easier reporting capabilities, enhanced recruitment processes and upskilling. One example, highlighted in the report in East London, showcased where the training of staff in the use of digital technologies provided opportunities for care workers to access new skills, and resulted in improved job satisfaction and enabled staff to reach their career goals.

This report finds that there is enormous potential for councils to do more to adopt new applications and to ensure the highest quality mobile connectivity is available to them. Local authorities must therefore put infrastructure at the heart of policy making, recognising its foundational status in enabling councils to do more with less while reducing the challenge of adult social care delivery. Mobile UK is advocating for centrally funded Digital Champions to help coordinate and take ownership of these plans. 

Commenting on the Connected Care report, Chief Executive for Mobile UK, Hamish MacLeod said:

With the pressure on councils more pronounced than ever and social care one of the biggest challenges they face it is important that the role of digital connectivity and the opportunities it offers are better understood.

Our report highlights many of these opportunities both to the council and those in need, calling for mobile connectivity to be more heavily integrated into council policy and planning.

Commenting further, Cancer surgeon and Vodafone Connected Health Ambassador, Professor Shafi Ahmed said:

Connectivity is key to deliver better, faster care to patients in every part of the health and social care services. Technology can – and I firmly believe, will – completely transform health care across the UK and beyond, making it more equitable, accessible and affordable. But there’s still considerable reluctance to embrace these changes, which is why reports like this are so vital.

By setting out clearly where the opportunities are, Mobile UK has made it much easier for councils and care providers to understand the impact technology can have on the delivery and quality of social care. 

The full report which contains a foreword by Central London Forward’s Digital Champion Nicola Egan, can be viewed and downloaded here.    

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Sophie James

Sophie James

Head of Telecoms and Spectrum Policy, techUK

Manuel R. Marti

Manuel R. Marti

Programme Manager, UK SPF and Satellite, techUK

Julia Ofori-Addo

Julia Ofori-Addo

Programme Assistant, Central Government, Digital Connectivity Forum, Comms Infrastructure, UK SPF, techUK

Leontina Postelnicu

Leontina Postelnicu

Head of Health and Social Care, techUK

Alex Lawrence

Alex Lawrence

Programme Manager, Health and Social Care, techUK

Tracy Modha

Team Assistant - Markets, techUK