Video chats from carers
PATIENTS who are cared for at home are being monitored through video chats instead of visits from trained carers.
Under the controversial council-funded trial, elderly patients in Essex speak to carers via an app on Samsung Galaxy tablets.
It is ‘a more convenient and… less intrusive method of interacting with a care worker, friends and family,’ claim the county council and care firm Essex Cares.
But critics said it suggested patients were a burden on loved ones and the state. They warned of the risks of removing faceto-face contact under the cost-cutting measure, particularly as 1.1million over65s are said to be chronically lonely in the UK.
Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard, of the Royal College of GPs, said: ‘Social isolation and loneliness are akin to a chronic long-term condition in terms of the impact they have on our patients’ health and wellbeing.’
But Essex Cares said the method ‘will hopefully enable more people to live as independently as possible’. County councillor John Spence added it was important to ‘keep pace with new technology’.