Tunstall has called on the government to follow through on its policy to make telehealth “integral rather than marginal” after announcing that it will be making up to 70 people redundant due to falling sales.
James Buckley, Tunstall’s chief executive, said: “We’ve had some good government policies over the past few years, including strategies to support dementia sufferers, and they’ve all said that our products and services should be integral to the delivery of care.
“The government should be ensuring that the policies are actually implemented. It needs to do more to encourage local councils and primary care trusts to install telehealth systems.”
The call follows an announcement that up to 70 of the company’s 550 UK staff will be made redundant after a “significant reduction in UK sales.” A spokesperson said it was unsure of the exact number, because a consultation period is underway that will run for at least a month.
However, she said: “We hope that the number of people will be much less than 70 but that is the number [we] have had to provide to the union.
“The redundancies will be made across the board and not in one specific area. We have invested heavily in telehealth and are trying to minimise the impact of the decline in sales and of these redundancies.”
Tunstall says that worldwide its products help more than 2.5m elderly people and sufferers of chronic diseases to live independently and that it has around 1.6m telecare and 10,000 telehealth users in the UK.
Its products include sensors that alert a response centre when a vulnerable person falls, or leaves the gas or cooker on.
The company said England should follow in the footsteps of the Scotland by providing a nationwide evaluation of telehealth success. “We truly believe that telehealth is a success and it is inevitable that it is going to happen,” its spokesperson said.