A Dragon’s Den

Last Monday I was in Cambridge for the grand finale of an exciting competition, led by Improvement East in partnership with NHS Midlands and East all part of the brave new world of better working between Social Care and Health.

Taking inspiration from the ‘Dragons’ Den’, the finalists had to come before a panel of Dragons which I had the pleasure to Chair and our job was  to find an innovative new product or services to keep older people out of long-term care, where it’s not necessary or what that individual actually wants. The other Dragons were Caroline Tapster, Ex-Chief Executive of Hertfordshire County Council, Richard Carr, Chief Executive of Central Bedfordshire Council, Alida Farmer, Service Development Manager at NHS Midlands and East, Simon Leftley, Corporate Director of Adult and Community Services at Southend-on-sea Borough Council and Steve Hampson, Area Head (East) at Age UK.

Cllr. Richard Stay, Chairman of Improvement East opened the event and I then gave a keynote speech in which I stressed the need for innovation in this sector, and about those that will need our help in the future will have the same care needs of as people today, we all will but they are not from the same generation as today’s older people; I told the tale of when a couple of years back I attended the inaugural Beveridge 4.0 conference on Social Care and it was not something said by the august panel members sitting on the top table it was something said to by a lady in the audience who stood up and said “you know what, I’m a baby boomer and I now 65 I not from my mother generation, the grateful as hell generation, I looking round at what you lot are offering us in our old age and I am not happy, not happy at all”. I stressed that we need to start innovation and creating a culture where innovation can flourish to help us address people’s expectations of the support they will have when they are older.

So one by one five organisations pitched their products and were integrated for the chance to win an investment of up to £100,000 to pilot their technology within a local Health and Social Care system in the Midlands and East of England.

The winner was tech start-up Mindings, a service which allows family and friends to send personal captioned photos, text messages, calendar reminders, social media content and much more to a digital screen in a family member’s home that they don’t even have to touch – helping to better connect families by enabling effortless, regular, personal and meaningful contact.  I sort of thought it was like Facebook for the technology-shy!

What really struck me was the comment by Stuart Arnott, Founder of Mindings who said: “My technology-shy Dad lives alone, 500 miles away in Scotland.  I always thought it ironic that I spend all day texting, Tweeting, Facebooking and the like, but the one person who would really appreciate all that stuff is the one person who, because he can’t use a computer or mobile phone, misses out on it all. So, I created Mindings, and now Dad can daily see pictures of his Granddaughter growing up and share in all these moments we tech-savvy folk share online. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to share Mindings and help connect socially excluded people with their family and friends.”

We also awarded a highly commended to Just Checking for their motion sensing tool which monitors the movement of a person in their home to give people with dementia a way of demonstrating their capabilities, and in effect, put them more in control.  What was powerful about this was that it’s a relatively simply in a box system that can be set up quickly to help social workers and families to come together to understand the real independence of people living on their own and helps ensure they are receiving the right level of care for their needs.

The other pitches were great, one I know is being picked up by the NHS to develop further and another couple whist not quite at the cutting edge of innovation which was the key criteria we at Suffolk County Council will be looking to work with further.

All in all a really interesting process, a great winner and something I hope we can keep going as we work to change the culture and make sure that for at least one baby-boomer we create a care system that meets her expectations in the future.

You can find out more about the winner, Mindings at www.mindings.com and highly commended, Just Checking at www.justchecking.co.uk

Improvement East is a partnership of all authorities in the East of England – councils and fire and rescue services.  It is run by authorities for authorities, bringing together innovative ideas and services to support them to meet efficiency challenges and to improve and transform service outcomes for their communities. It is politically led and part of the East of England Local Government Association Local Government Association.  For further information visit: www.improvementeast.gov.uk.

NHS Midlands and East comprises NHS East Midlands, NHS East of England and NHS West Midlands. The cluster has a clear purpose in the following areas: Delivering for today; Building for the future, and; Supporting staff.  We are responsible for ensuring that the £26billion spent on health and health care across the region delivers better services for patients and value for money. For further information visit: http://www.midlandsandeast.nhs.uk.

 The other products pitched at the event included:

  • CareConnectMe – an affordable, simple to use automated service that messages people to check that they are safe and alerts their contacts if they don’t answer.
  • @UK Plc – an eMarketplace offering service users the ability to buy both equipment and services online in order to help them stay as independent as possible.
  • Pintrack Ltd – real time information through a mobile device which enables users to undertake everyday tasks, travel to appointments, take medications and receive reminders of what they need to do and when.

About askcolinnoble
I'm a Conservative politician-lite, I dabble a bit in Party Politics with my main focus of working hard and being a strong voice for my community making sure local government delivers quality services and fellow residents get value for money for their hard earned money they pay in Council tax | Where this Gravatar appears and I am expressing my views or liking something I do so in a personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Suffolk County Council, Forest Heath District Council, the Conservative Party or come to think of it anyone else | But having said the above at an election time and to stay legal, anything I write is promoted by Lance Stanbury on behalf of Colin Noble, both at West Suffolk Conservative Association, Park Farm Cottage, Fordham St. Genevieve, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk IP28 6TS

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