Social care & isolation

NHSX is identifying and delivering digital solutions to support society’s most vulnerable and isolated people and the social care sector, during the COVID-19 outbreak. Our work includes:

TechForce19 challenge

In March, we announced the TechForce19 challenge.  The aim of the challenge is to support the deployment of digital solutions which could help people who are particularly vulnerable or isolated as a result of coronavirus. This could include people who need mental health support, or who have social care needs. 

Following assessment by a panel comprising of members from NHSX, the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, the AHSN Network and Public, together with representatives from the NHS, local authorities, care and mental health sectors.  18 companies have been selected to receive awards of up to £25,000.

The successful solutions have received funding to rapidly test their product, to meet specific COVID-19 related needs. 

This testing phase will last for two to three weeks, followed by an assessment to better understand the potential and scope for accelerated deployment at scale.  Find out more about the chosen solutions.

Keeping people connected  

We are ensuring social care providers have the devices, connectivity and tools they need to care for their most isolated and vulnerable people. We are working with a range of technology companies, such as Facebook to pilot Portal devices so that care home residents can keep in touch with their loved ones.

We are also working to deliver better connectivity for care homes and domiciliary providers with enhanced broadband, WiFi and data enabled devices. We have negotiated a number of offers with telecom companies which care homes and care providers can sign up to, to get connected to the internet or upgrade their existing internet connectivity, during COVID-19.

Getting people essentials

Making sure NHS and social care staff have access to essential supplies, such as food and medicines is a priority. We are working with retailers to introduce and scale up initiatives aimed at health and social care staff.  Morrisons is providing free-delivery on its foodbox service for NHS staff.  Iceland has introduced priority access to dedicated shopping slots and deliveries for social care and NHS staff, use this link to find out more about this and other offers.   More information on staff offers is available on the NHS England and NHS Improvement web page.

Enabling volunteers

We want to make sure people can participate in the NHS Emergency Volunteering Scheme by providing them with an online service for emergency volunteering leave and volunteer compensation scheme applications.

Keeping people mentally healthy  

We are working with local mental health services to scale digital solutions to support children, young people and adults who have a range of mental health issues and who are vulnerable or self-isolating.

Get in touch

If you can help please with our work on social care, vulnerable and isolated groups get in touch with us at covid19-welfare@nhsx.nhs.uk

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