Government invests £31 million in telehealth

Health secretary Alan Johnson has announced an investment of 31 million in a health telecare system.

The Whole System Demonstrator Programme will test innovative technology, such as telecare and telehealth in supporting those with complex health and social care needs.

The pilot scheme is being tried in Kent, Cornwall and Newham, and will be used by those with diabetes, heart and chest problems as well as the elderly and frail.

The programme aims to enable people to retain their independence in the community and greatly improve their quality of life by managing their conditions in their homes. Other benefits of the scheme include reduced emergency admissions, reduced use of the hospital sector and reduced dependence on care home settings.

Johnson said that the programme was essential to moving the care and support sector forward.

"Society is going through huge change - care and support must adapt to meet the challenges this will bring because the current system is simply not sustainable in the long term," he said.

"We are rolling out a 31 million programme to test the potential of innovative technologies like telecare in supporting care for those with complex health and social care needs. Improving care with new scientific advances and innovation is vital if the NHS is to continue to offer the very best services, but this innovation must be at the frontline of the NHS to help people manage their conditions better themselves."