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Press release: Government urged to invest in the digitisation of social care services

18th February 2021 about a 3 minute read

Press release

18th February 2021

Government urged to invest in the digitisation of social care services

A new report is urging the government to invest in the digitisation of social care services across England ahead of this Summer’s spending review process.

The Care Tech Landscape Review, released today by Future Care Capital (FCC), not only recommends a range of measures to enable higher quality care through the use of technology, but it also shows the lack of investment being made in social care. This is demonstrated by the relatively small sector niche of companies developing technology solutions for home care providers, when compared to healthcare or other sectors.

Whilst the number of people in receipt of local government funded home care differs across the country, a growing number of people are funding their own home care directly. An estimated 650,000 people are in receipt of home care[i] but calculating the size of the home care market is challenging due to a paucity of data – something the Government recently committed to fix in its White Paper, Integration and Innovation: working together to improve health and social care for all.

The Landscape Review also shows that targeted support and intervention is needed to grow the care tech ecosystem to meet the needs of individuals – care is not one size fits all and neither are tech solutions to go with it. With our ageing population set to increase over the coming decades, the need for investment is crucial.

There are, however, major opportunities in adult social care for the improvement of care using technology, from the perspective of those in receipt of care, the workforce as well as the economy. Recent analysis related to government plans to achieve spending on research and development equivalent to 2.4% of GDP has estimated that for every £1 of innovation funding committed by government, there is a £7 return on investment.[ii]

Dr Peter Bloomfield, FCC’s Head of Policy and Research, said:

This research has been conducted and is being published in a complex social and political context. The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the care sector in the UK and highlighted some of the difficulties faced by care workers, recipients of care and their families.

“The pandemic has clearly demonstrated gaps in the availability of data about social care. Going forward, we need better quality, up-to-date information about the number of people in the care system.

Our ageing population poses both opportunities and challenges, and individuals need to be empowered to live healthier lives for longer, in an independent way. Increased spending power and the emergence of a ‘silver economy’[iii] means that technology-led solutions may be able to improve the quality of care provided at home.”

This publication is available to download at futurecarecapital.org.uk and will be discussed at greater length at the upcoming webinar Social Care: Technology and Transformation – register here now for free.

ENDS

References

[i]An overview of the UK homecare market: UKHCA Summary, United Kingdom Home Care Association (June 2019), available at –https://www.ukhca.co.uk/memberdocs/getDownloads.aspx?_id=FJzoKCPrOMBr3amxUAXvDvDFqjN20VhId7CpIWKOez9jsTmNfBsk5rAoRCRyFRfHD+ZJypC4x4OdwCwpMIxPXQ==&_f=UKHCA_market_overview_2019.pdf
[ii] Balance and effectiveness of research and innovation spending, UK Parliament Science and Technology Committee (12th September 2019), available at – https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmsctech/1453/145305.htm
[iii] National life tables – life expectancy in the UK: 2017 to 2019, The Office for National Statistics (24th September 2020), available at – https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/lifeexpectancies/bulletins/nationallifetablesunitedkingdom/2017to2019