Analysis of NHS Digital’s Social Care Programme has revealed it could lead to £127million worth of benefits.

Started in 2016, the programme received £23million in investment and has funded over 100 projects including the development of apps, the roll out of new robotic technology to help carers and tools to reduce the risk of falls.

Other innovations included:

  • An Electronic Red Bag to replace the physical ‘red bag’ which contains a standardised set of information about health and care, such as medications, medical history, personal preferences and information about safeguarding.
  • Remote monitoring technology which monitors care home residents, particularly through the night, to alert staff to unusual movements or people calling for help.

The programme aimed to show how information and technology can be used in England’s social care sector. Recent analysis has suggested projects driven by the programme will result in benefits equivalent to £127milliom.

James Palmer, programme head of the Social Care Programme at NHS Digital, said: “We are delighted to see the impact that digital technology introduced through our programme has already had on people’s lives and the multitude of benefits it will bring in the years to come, both on individuals and on the wider health and social care sector.

“Our approach throughout has been led by users of the services and we have worked collaboratively with care providers and local authorities, which has given us high confidence they can deliver outcomes and benefits for those commissioning, providing and receiving care.”

Areas of the programme included the Social Care Digital Innovation Programme and Social Care Digital Accelerator Programme, which saw 69 local authorities developing new ways of using digital technology.

Part of the programme also included the Digital Social Care Pathfinders project which focused on looking at standardising information and developing digital ways of sharing that information between multiple health and care organisations

The project involved 26 Pathfinders who were funded to run small pilots in their local areas. In this most recent phase, which ran from 2019 to 2021, 16 of these organisations received funding to develop their products, scale them up and make them available for use by other organisations.

Mandy Thorn, Vice Chair of the National Care Association, added: “The Digital Social Care Pathfinders programme has left a lasting legacy, in particular it has helped create stronger links between the adult social care provider sector, local authorities and the NHS, whilst empowering individuals to have their voices heard. The Care Provider Alliance is proud to have been an integral part of this programme and to have been involved in such transformational work.”

The Digital Social Care Pathfinders project ran until March 2021 and the products developed are now available to be used by other organisations.