£1m 'telecare' aid to free up hospital beds

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THOUSANDS of hospital and care-home beds are set to be freed up in the next year, with funds for remote monitoring more than doubling.

Edinburgh City Council is spending up to 1 million on "telecare" packages to help people stay in their own homes.

Measures include sensors that turn off cookers, GPS trackers for people with Alzheimer's and alarms so elderly residents can call for help.

In the past three years, the city council has spent an average of 405,000 on telecare. This year it is rising to 950,000 as the services are offered to more people.

For the first time, about 50,000 will be spent dealing with domestic violence. Listening devices will be fitted that will alert police and relatives if an incident is taking place, such as an abusive ex-partner arriving at the house.

Paul Edie, the council's health and social care convener, said the measures could help free up about 3,000 hospital beds a year.