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1st May 2013

GPS tracking devices being used for dementia sufferers in Sussex

GPS locators are being used to help people with dementia in Chichester whose carers and partners are worried about them going missing and having accidents.

Chichester District Council runs the Chichester Careline which monitors the 'MindMe' locating devices worn by dementia sufferers on key rings along with their house keys.

Now Sussex Police has purchased a number of devices to help people with dementia who regularly go missing.

The council says the devices have already helped save a number of lives and says that people are not being tagged: "This technology is providing independence and saving lives," it says.

National Pensioners Convention says tracking is 'papering over social care cracks'

Plans to use GPS tracking devices on dementia patients in Sussex are a symptom of a social care crisis not a solution, Dot Gibson, general secretary of the National Pensioners' Convention, has said.

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme today (May 1): "This is another way of putting a sticking plaster over a problem that arises because there are cuts and budget problems in the social care system."

She added that there was a "crisis in social care" where there is a lack of proper care services for dementia patients.

A spokesman for the National Pensioners Convention, Neil Duncan-Jordan, added: "We're also concerned about what safeguards are in place [where tracking devices are used]. Who has the right to determine if a tracking device is used and do individuals have the right to stop wearing a device?

"We can't deny there may be an occasion where someone happens to have a tag on a key fob and it helps but it's not really the bigger picture. There are 800,000 dementia sufferers in the UK. We've got increasing demand and falling funding so this [situation] is not going to be solved by tagging people."




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