Hertfordshire County Council expects 4000 people a year to benefit from its new telecare contract with Tunstall Healthcare.

The council has signed a contract with Tunstall to support existing and new users of telecare in the county.

Hertfordshire already provides “homecare services” to 5500 adults, but expects care costs to double by 2026.

Developed in partnership with Serco, the new scheme aims to provide a more comprehensive service for existing users of the council’s homecare services and enable telecare to be extended to people who are likely to require social care services in the short to medium term.

Councillor Colette Wyatt-Lowe, a cabinet member for health and adult care, said the council had come up with an “innovative approach” to dealing with an ageing population and tight budgets.

“By harnessing technology effectively, we can offer peace-of-mind to more people and their carers while working within the council’s financial constraints,” she said.

Users will be given a personal alarm and sensors that monitor their home environment. The project also includes a response service supported by the British Red Cross.

Tunstall operators will run the service, so when a user raises an alarm they will talk to the person and choose the most appropriate way to help.

This could be contacting a family member, carer, doctor, emergency service or local response unit.

Hertfordshire hopes the scheme will help support older and vulderable people in their own homes by facilitating earlier interventions and reducing unnecessary hospital admissions.