Digital programme launched to help find social care solutions

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Innovators are being urged to find ways to deliver mental health and social care support digitally as part of a drive to provide more help for people isolating because of coronavirus.

NHSX, which aims to drive digital transformation in health and social care, is making £500,000 available – with funding of up to £25,000 per company – to innovators with solutions that can be deployed at scale in the next few weeks.

The programme is looking for digital solutions that could include providing remote social care. This could be in the form of finding and matching qualified carers to those in need and managing and delivering care in care homes.

It is also looking for tech companies to develop tools to recruit, train and coordinate local volunteers into clinical and non-clinical workers, making it easier to deliver mental health services and support.

The technology is intended to supplement existing support for those who may be most affected by the consequences of remaining housebound for long periods of time.

Matthew Gould, NHSX chief executive, said: ‘Tech can play an important role in helping the country deal with the challenges created by coronavirus. This competition is focussed on the problems created by isolation, which lend themselves to digital solutions.

‘It will allow NHSX to accelerate the development of those solutions, so within weeks they can help those in isolation suffering from loneliness, mental health issues and other problems.’

As many 1.5 million people most at risk if they catch coronavirus are being asked to stay at home for at least 12 weeks. Yesterday (Sunday 22 March) Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: ‘I said the moment would come where we needed to shield those with serious conditions. There are probably about 1.5 million in all.’

More information on the tech programme can be found here.

As of 8am on Monday morning (23 March), there had been more than 5,700 positive cases of Covid-19 in the UK and 281 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.