This is a very interesting article on how Japan is addressing issues of an ageing population. The government there realised some years ago that there was a growing problem not only of more older people living longer but also costs of their care. The costs centred on care/health actual costs but also indirectly on the economy as working women , especially, had a cultural, and wholly natural desire, to some a duty, to care for ageing parents. So these women created a cost for the economy by leaving work, often in key professional jobs. The ‘answer’ was to raise funding through an insurance scheme for over 40s and to introduce technology, which as this article reveals, has many novel approaches.
Jeremy Hunt on the radio this morning talked of an app for all patients enabling them to book GP appointments online and to have access to their medical records too, from December (hopefully!?). We hope that this is true (bearing in mind not everybody has smart phones yet) and its something we have pursued in our forums. Firstly we, assisted by Russell Mills, discussed the benefits of ‘Alexa’, for example, in the home of elderly people who might need reminding about medication , appointments and the like, but also wanted to call a relative or others, for support or help, or might simply want to call up the radio or listen to music. Bruce Elliott talked about his challenging for patient access to their records, a matter which has very recent relevance to one of our Board.
We welcome these initiatives and fresh thoughts and hope that the ‘increased’ funding the government is providing for the NHS will help reduce admissions by supporting continuing health care in the community, not least by providing increased social care. It goes without saying that a new financial cap needs addressing juts like they did in Japan , Germany and elsewhere , many years ago!