| Digital Office | Scottish Local Government

Orkney Islands Council Awarded Bronze Digital Telecare Implementation Award

Award. Digital Telecare. 22.03.2024

Digital Telecare for Scottish Local Government are delighted to confirm that Orkney Islands Council have been awarded the Bronze Digital Telecare Implementation Award in recognition of the progress they have made on their analogue to digital telecare transition project.

To achieve bronze status, a Telecare Service Provider must have implemented a fully operational digital alarm receiving centre solution. This is the first major milestone in the transition to digital telecare and sets the foundations upon which the rest of the digital telecare transition will rest.

Helen Sievewright, Orkney Health and Care Service Manager (Community Care) said: “Receiving this Award marks a significant achievement for the Council in the requirement to move from an analogue Telecare Service to a digital one and is testament to the hard work of the project team. Now that the digital alarm receiving solution (ARC) is in place, we can move towards the first phase of testing with alarms and aim to achieve the next Implementation Award, Silver in due course.”

Orkney Islands Council have approximately 815 service users that use their telecare service. Until recently, they used analogue alarms, but now there is a pressing need to move to digital services. Their Alarm Receiving Centre is digital which has been advantageous as it has allowed the service to move users across to digital in certain scenarios. For example, if a digital line has been installed or if the device doesn’t work. Currently, this is only done when there is a specific need and alarms have been tested to allow this. Orkney Islands Council are working with a supplier that has been tested to meet the needs of the service and are about to embark on testing different suppliers after completing a comprehensive options appraisal and assessing the needs of the service. A full user testing plan has been drafted to assist with this, alongside additional penetration testing, and user acceptance testing. The organisation hopes that the testing and business case will be confirmed over the next few months, with procurement starting for the chosen suppliers shortly after.

Stephen Brown, Orkney Health and Care Chief Officer said: “I am delighted that our Telecare team have been recognised for all their hard work since the project began. Reaching this the first milestone in the delivery of this project is no mean feat and I am confident that progress is being made towards the next stage of the project.”

The biggest obstacle for Orkney Islands Council was when service users, unaware of the potential impact to their safety, could move across to a digital line without the Council being informed of this change. They overcame this by signing a data sharing agreement with BT and other agencies, whereby service users are noted as vulnerable users with a telecare alarm and cannot be moved across unless the Council is notified, and a discussion has taken place for the service users’ safety. To overcome issues of signal blackspots, Orkney Islands Council has purchased a signal analyser and is conducting further work with this.

Councillor Rachael King, Chair of the Integration Joint Board (Orkney Islands Council and NHS Orkney) said: “The Bronze accreditation demonstrates a collective commitment from all involved to work towards ensuring a safe and seamless transition for our telecare service users to a full digital Telecare/Community Care Alarm Service by the end of 2025.

“Through the Digital Transition Programme, our aim is to further enhance the current offer through our telecare/community care alarm response services, improving the overall experience for members of our community. It’s great to see that our positive steps towards our ambitions have been recognised with the Bronze Award.”

Achieving this Award is a significant achievement and now that this digital alarm receiving solution is in place, Orkney Islands Council can move towards the first phase of testing with alarms and peripheral and aim to achieve the next Implementation Award, Silver.

We extend our wholehearted congratulations to Orkney Islands Council and look forward to continuing to work with them as they progress towards the Silver Digital Telecare Implementation Award.