Birmingham City Council celebrates success of its city-wide telecare service, which has benefitted 7,000 people to date.
Birmingham City Council has celebrated the first anniversary of their joint city-wide telecare service, which has to date benefitted 7,000 people across the city. The Birmingham Telecare Service, which aims to support 27,000 people by 2015, enables residents with a wide range of support-needs to remain living independently in their own homes.
To celebrate the first anniversary, the Birmingham Telecare Service (BTS) hosted an event in partnership with Birmingham City Council, the Good Governance Institute and Tunstall to enable service users to speak directly about their relationship with telecare, and share their experiences with other people using the telecare service.
The event was attended by 50 service users from the BTS, who were on hand to discuss how telecare has made them feel safe and secure, enabling them to live independently with the added reassurance that support is available whenever they need it.
Councillor Steve Bedser, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing at Birmingham City Council commented:
I’ve not been to many first birthday’s where I’ve felt this proud. This event was particularly important as it enabled 50 telecare service users from across the city to tell us about their experiences. It proved to be a fantastic opportunity to gather great feedback with masses of enthusiasm, and ideas for how we can take telecare forward. We hope to extend the scope of services to those with learning disabilities or people living in residential care homes, and plan to introduce telehealth in the near future.
At the event, Peter Hay, Strategic Director Adults and Communities at Birmingham City Council, highlighted the importance of citizen engagement and how the integration of an independent quality assurance programme by the Good Governance Institute (GGI) is ensuring a service-user approach to service delivery.
The Good Governance Institute (GGI) is working with Birmingham City Council (BCC) to develop a pioneering quality assurance programme, centred on the needs of service users from the Birmingham Telecare Service. The programme of work has at its heart the experience and participation of telecare service users themselves, designed to engage with service users and their advocates through an established independent quality review board, the Citizen’s Quality Advisory Group (CQAG), and direct contact with telecare service users, their families and carers.
Andrew Corbett-Nolan said:
Over the last year, GGI has spoken directly to more than 500 service users in Birmingham, run focus groups for dozens more, and visited the homes of those users who couldn’t make it to one of our group events. This event was not just a celebration of the role that service users played in developing BTS, but a continuation of the work we are all doing to ensure that they are in a position to offer informed opinions about the service they receive. We’re delighted to have been part of ensuring that BTS’s first anniversary has been marked with an event for those who actually use the service.
During the event, Peter Hay commented:
We’re holding to our ambition that social care is about the quality of life that people experience, and we’re doing so against a context where we’re seeing a dramatic fall in our resources. We’re not lowering our sights or our ambition, but to meet our objectives we need to do things differently.
Telecare is a crucial new opportunity to meet the needs of our residents in a cost effective way, and events like this are great examples of how we are keen to listen, learn and improve what we do.
Simon Arnold, Managing Director at Tunstall concluded:
Tunstall as an organisation brings care home for 2.5m people across 40 countries. Our innovative and person-centred partnership with Birmingham is an inspiration for the advancement of telecare in the UK. It unites people with technology like never before to deliver a first-class support service that is improving the lives of thousands of individuals across the city.
Gerald, a carer for his wife and daughter, said:
I wasn’t sleeping because I was worried about my daughter, and I wouldn’t want to go out much as I wanted to make sure everything was okay at home. With telecare, I don’t need to worry about it, or phone someone every 5 minutes. The system will notify us if there is a problem.
The Birmingham Telecare Service has commissioned a film in partnership with Tunstall and GGI, which provides highlights from the event and includes interviews with service users and senior level speakers from Birmingham City Council, Tunstall and GGI. You can watch it here