Falkirk Council has become the first local authority in Scotland to go live with an end-to-end digital telecare service and achieve a Gold Digital Telecare Implementation Award.
Working alongside Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership, the Council has safeguarded its life and limb Mobile Emergency Care Service (MECS), which currently helps 4,000 vulnerable people live independently at home.
To achieve Gold status, a telecare service provider must have completed user acceptance testing with a representative group of low-risk users, migration for clients in this group has commenced and a digital telecare solution has been rolled out to 20% of service users. This is the third level award within the Implementation Award Scheme.
The service, which traditionally relied on analogue phone lines to operate, is now the first telecare service provided by a Scottish Council to be digitally enabled end to end, four years before telecommunication providers switch off all analogue lines in the UK.
The ground-breaking progress has now been recognised, with the Council and Partnership awarded the Gold Level 1 Digital Telecare Implementation Award by the Digital Telecare for Scottish Local Government Programme.
The award acknowledges the service, which provides users with personal and home alarms that alert a control centre when they fall or are in difficulty so help can be sent, has:
· been tested with a group of low-risk clients
· migrated 20% of users to the fully digital service
Martyn Wallace, Chief Digital Officer for the Digital Office for Scottish Local Government and the Senior Responsible Officer of Digital Telecare in Scotland, said: “Receiving the award is a significant achievement and robustly demonstrates the overall functionality and effectiveness of Falkirk Council and Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership’s digital telecare solution. This enables them to confidently progress further on their journey and continue to share their learnings with other telecare service providers as leaders in the field.”
Pauline Waddell, Team Manager, MECS said: “Becoming the first Council in Scotland to not only go live with an end-to-end digital telecare offering but also achieve recognition for it, is testament to the hard work undertaken to safeguard the critical service by all those involved in the project. It is only through their innovative thinking, collaborative working and quick decision making that the digital transformation of this service has got to this stage.”
By the end of March last year, the Falkirk project team had replaced 4,000 analogue MECS alarm systems in people’s homes with pre-programmed digital-ready ones.
They’d also worked with Chubb Systems to develop and install a digital Alarm Receiving Centre, which provides immediate and secure information 24/7 to call handlers when a MECS personal alarm or sensor in a home is activated.
Now the team is working to transfer the remaining 3,200 MECS service users to the fully digital service by end 2021.
Ian, Analogue to Digital Telecare Project Manager, said: “Our clients should feel confident that the service they rely on to live independently at home is not only cutting edge, but also more secure and more reliable than ever before. Our focus now is to build on our digital ambitions, offering new choices and services that will help them lead independent lives for as long as possible.”