Whilst we are very lucky to have an excellent NHS hospital nearby in St Richard’s, many are aware of the increasing pressure our NHS faces as it deals with ever increasing number of patients and more elderly patients with complex needs. This is why as well as calls for increased funding it is vitally important that we integrate health and social care. It is good news that we are living longer however, often we need support to ensure that we are looked after in our old age as families live further away from each other and many people live alone.
This week I went to visit Chichester’s Careline service which has been operating in the District for over 30 years and also operates across West Sussex and beyond. A wonderful team, led by Brenda, deliver a range of telecare services to provide the extra support that some people may need to continue to live in their own home whether recovering from a stay in hospital, living with health problems or just wanting reassurance that someone is looking out for you in case of an accident or fall. They work in partnership with local health and social care professionals as well as the fire service and tailor their services to meet an individual need. They explained their new virtual care home concept which makes sure that someone can come to your home, in person within one hour at the push of a button 24/7. Whilst not suitable for everybody, this use of technology to help us stay safely in our own homes for longer could be part of a solution to keep elderly people safe and looked after and prevent some trips to the hospital. There is a small charge for their services but they also offer advice on how to apply for attendance allowance and pension credits which may pay for or contribute towards the cost.
Whilst I was there they showed me some of the latest healthcare technology which monitors a range a vital signs, online through your fingertips. Health and smart home technology alongside monitoring services like Careline could play a key role in helping support us to stay safe for longer in our homes.
We returned to the House of Commons after a recess break and it was lovely on the first day back to welcome two local groups to Parliament. The first was the Women’s Institute group from Lavant and the second was a group of year eight scholars from Highfield and Brookham school. It is always a pleasure to meet up and answer their questions after they have done a tour and this is available to any local groups.
If you would like to visit Parliament, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to Gillian Keegan MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.