Local MP Alan Mak has praised a Hampshire County Councillor who has been shortlisted for a national award following pioneering to introduce assistive technology to improve its adult social care.
Bedhampton’s Liz Fairhurst, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, was nominated in the Technology and Digital category for the LGiU & CCLA’s Cllr Achievement Awards 2018 by Havant MP Alan Mak. Now in its ninth year, these prestigious national Awards are designed to recognise the work of councillors across the country on behalf of their local communities.
It comes after Alan has been championing the use of technology in healthcare, including releasing a report earlier this year backed by the Health Secretary calling for a digital-first NHS.
He said that during his research, he’d been impressed by the industry-leading technology being introduced by the council as part of its provision of adult social care.
Alan Mak MP said: “By 2020, it is predicted 28 per cent of Hampshire’s population will be over the age of 65, while one in eight households will be occupied by a pensioner living alone. That’s why I’m championing new technology that has the potential to improve the quality of life for the elderly, enabling them to retain their independence and live full lives for longer. Hampshire County Council have been at the forefront of developing this assistive technology, driven by the work of Cllr Liz Fairhurst and her team, which is why I nominated her for the Cllr Achievement Awards. She fully deserves to be shortlisted and I wish her the best of luck on the night.”
Across the county 8,600 people are being supported by assistive technology - with 94 per cent of people saying that these approaches increase their feelings of safety and security.
They have included alarms worn by patients at home that can detect falls, epileptic fits and have GPS capability if a dementia sufferer wanders away from home.
The council has also recently become the first local authority to start working with Amazon in a trial using a customised version of their Echo device to support people to live independently. Echo users can add new skills to the device and then simply “ask Alexa” to remind them to take medication or check whether their carer is due to arrive.
Liz Fairhurst’s nomination follows the recent announcement by the County Council that it is set to invest up to £67 million in care technology over the next ten years to support the growing number of elderly people and younger adults with disabilities in Hampshire.
Cllr Liz Fairhurst said: “My nomination is a reflection of the vision of the adult social care team in Hampshire who some years ago recognised the vital role technology could play in the delivery of adult social care support. Since that time the world of technology has moved rapidly, bringing significant benefits to the way people live their lives – something Hampshire has been keen to capitalise on as we explore new and different ways to support people to live their lives as independently as possible.”
“I am delighted to be nominated for this award, and look forward to being part of Hampshire’s continuing innovation in this field.”
Picture: Havant MP Alan Mak with Cllr Liz Fairhurst