A CASH-STRAPPED council is handing out high-end Samsung Galaxy tablets in a bid to make sick pensioners SKYPE their carers instead of receiving a home visit.
Up to 40 OAPs in Essex will be handed top-of-the-range 4G Samsung Galaxy tablets as part of the madcap scheme.
Last night Essex County Council bosses insisted the trial, run in partnership with Essex Cared LTD, will provide “a more convenient and prove a less intrusive method of interacting with a care worker, friends and family.”
But top GP Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard blasted: “What these patients need is someone to listen to them and to find purpose in life.
“GPs see patients, many of whom are widowed, who have multiple health problems like diabetes, hypertension and depression, but often their main problem isn’t medical, they’re lonely.
An estimated 1.1 million OAPs are chronically lonely in the UK, and lonely people are more likely to develop serious conditions like heart disease, depression and dementia.
Cliff Rich, CEO of Contact the Elderly added: “We gladly recognise the amazing strides modern technology has made in helping all of us, and especially older people, with staying in touch with family and friends who may live too far away to visit in person.
“However, we still believe that nothing can replace the essential human need for face-to-face interaction.”
John Spence, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: “It is important that we keep pace with new technology.
“I am pleased that Essex is trialling this system to have a positive impact on people’s lives.
“It will allow our vulnerable adults to live independently, providing them with something that is accessible from the comfort of their own homes.”
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