Telemedicine: Voice over Internet Protocol

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered am ar 24 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Shadow Minister (Creative Industries and Digital)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether there are telecare devices being sold that will no longer be fully operational after the Public Switched Telephone Network is switched off.

Photo of Helen Whately Helen Whately Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

It is a known risk that some analogue telecare devices may not be digitally compatible or perform as reliably on digital networks. In November 2021, the Technology Enabled Care Services Association (TSA), the industry and advisory body for technology enabled care in the UK, released a statement requesting service providers discontinue purchasing new analogue-only units. Where there is an ongoing requirement to communicate in analogue protocols, providers can procure ‘hybrid’ alarms that communicate in both analogue and digital protocols.

Despite this, some telecare suppliers are still selling analogue devices to private customers. Also, telecare service providers may be re-issuing analogue devices to new customers, given the devices’ typical lifespan of five to seven years, before replacing them with digital alarm devices at the end of their lifespan. Alongside the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Department of Health and Social Care is developing a Telecare National Action Plan which will set out actions that a range of stakeholders, including telecare suppliers and service providers, are expected to take to ensure the safety of telecare users in the switch to digital lines. This will include actions to help telecare providers to better understand and manage the risks associated with the use of analogue telecare devices and will be published in the coming months, following stakeholder feedback.

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