Technology used to address Suffolk adult care budget overspend

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Suffolk County Council has said the use of technology could help reduce a £500,000 overspend in adult social care in Suffolk.

Despite a budget shortfall, spending on adult social care will rise by 3% in Suffolk next year. The council said solutions to the overspend could include using technology installed in older people’s homes, replacing some visits by carers, to check whether a patient has taken medication.

A report to the council’s scrutiny committee illustrated how costs could be cut by new technology. It said devices could be used to check if someone had got out of bed and was moving around. It stated: “Technology will not replace one-to-one care, but could reduce and delay the need for it.”

However, Adult Social Care Cabinet Member Beccy Hopfensperger said an attempt to save money by overhauling the service in 2015 proved unsuccessful, adding that the changes were unpopular with both care providers and older people, and did not save money for the Conservative-controlled council.

She warned: “One of the most important lessons we learned is that there is a really strong relationship between the carer and the person receiving care.”

The authority said the true deficit is £3.7 million but one-off Government payments and savings have offset the total. But costs are due to rise in the next 20 years with the number of over-65s projected to increase by 54%.

The full report was broadcast on BBC Sunday Politics East on 9 December at www.bbc.co.uk.

Last reviewed 20 December 2018

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