Telecare services have been offered by Local Authorities, housing associations and voluntary organisations in Scotland for many years. The equipment used to deliver these telecare services use analogue dial-up protocols to carry status and alarm signalling between the alarm devices in users’ homes to the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). Connectivity between homes and the ARC is provided by users’ home telephone line, or less commonly, a mobile (GSM1) radio embedded in the users’ telecare alarm device.
By 2025 telecoms companies will replace analogue telephone lines with digital equivalents. However, existing analogue phone lines, on which telecare currently relies, are currently being discontinued by telephone service providers to be replaced with digital lines. As analogue telecare equipment cannot be guaranteed to operate reliably over digital telephone lines, the strategic agendas to address this issue is outlined within Scotland’s Digital Health and Care Strategy and Delivery Plan.
In order to deliver solutions to this complex problem, the Scottish Government’s Technology Enabled Care Programme (TEC) has invested in the Scottish Local Government’s Digital Office (SLGDO), Digital Telecare portfolio of programmes. Digital Telecare has been exploring the existing analogue telecare landscape across Scotland to develop a Once for Scotland solution to allow organisations to shift to a digital telecare service.
Developing and improving the range of telecare services that are offered to users utilises higher capacity and always-on connections to user's homes, which in turn improves efficiency and expands the range of telecare services that can be offered to users.
- To ensure the continuedability to deliver reliable telecare services without interruption to the service;
- Enable the improved monitoring of services so any issues with an alarm device can be quickly identified and resolved;
- Meet increasing demand for telecare services which is expected to rise as a result of an ageing population.
‘By 2025 the existing analogue telephone network will be switched to digital connectivity.’