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Assistive technology increasingly outsourced by UK councils

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As budgets are squeezed, more local authorities and organisations are turning to our industry for solutions and services to keep elderly and disabled people living independently at home for longer.

Two companies taking advantage of the new raft of tenders are Contacta Systems and NRS Healthcare, who both won new contracts last month.

Contacta was assigned as the chosen supplier of assisted listening technology for the UK’s largest hearing loss charity, Action on Hearing Loss.

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The two-year initial partnership will see the Kent-based assistive tech firm respond to the thousands of enquiries the charity receives each year from businesses and individuals looking to install a system. Contacta will be involved in site visits, which include planning, installations and commissioning, as well as maintenance for completed projects. The two organisations have worked together in various capacities for 15 years.

Head of new business development at Contacta, Ran Meyrav, says: “We are delighted to announce this partnership with Action on Hearing Loss. Having worked with them for so long we understand their values and their aims for people with a hearing impairment. We look forward to being able to support their work further and creating lofe-changing, inclusive spaces.”

Chief executive of Action on Hearing Loss, Mark Atkinson, says: “We are very excited about this latest stage in our relationship with Contacta. They have a high level of expertise and great range of experience, from the largest to the smallest projects. This partnership will open up new opportunities for us as a charity to transform work and leisure spaces but also to help develop new products with the knowledge that we and our beneficiaries have.”

Meanwhile, NRS Healthcare was commissioned to provide a county-wise assistive technology service in North Yorkshire. North Yorkshire County Council’s service will comprise of equipment and monitored services where devices in the home are linked to a call centre providing people with round-the-clock peace of mind that someone will be alerted if they need assistance.

Assistive technology also includes GPS trackers, fall detectors and epilepsy monitors These can be used by people in extra care housing developments where independent living in apartments is supported by round-the-clock services. County councillor Michael Harrison, executive member for adult social care and health integration, says that the council has been providing assistive technology services for people in North Yorkshire for years.

“We haverecently appointed NRS Healthcare to manage the whole process across the county, providing a single, joined up service from referral, assessment, installation and servicing. Just as importantly, we wanted a strategic partner to help us to turn assistive technology into a core part of the health and social services we deliver.”

Health and social care professionals working for the council or the NHS can identify clients they think will benefit from assistive technology and send the referral to NRS. The NRS triage team examines each referral and decided whether an assessment can be completed over the phone or at a person’s home, and what the priority level is. People with other eligible care and support needs may get help to pay for their assistive technology service following a financial assessment. People who self-fund their care and support can ask NRS for a private pay option, or can choose other local providers.

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Joe Peskett

The author Joe Peskett

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