Europe first: Hampshire County Council and PA Consulting first to trial cobots in European care sector

Europe first: Hampshire County Council and PA Consulting first to trial cobots in European care sector

PR Newswire

LONDON, July 20, 2020

LONDON, July 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Hampshire County Council and PA Consulting-led Argenti Care Technology Partnership (Argenti), are launching the first-ever collaborative robots - or cobots - in the UK care sector.

Working with Japanese robotics developer, Cyberdyne, on trialling and launching HAL Lumbar type cobots, the Local Authority and PA Consulting, the global transformation consultancy have been keen to explore how cobots could help with the physical demands faced by stretched care sector staff. Already in use in Japan, cobots are worn around the lower back and actively support carers in moving objects or supporting people. Using electrodes, cobots can also detect electrical signals between the wearer's brain and their muscles and convert this into motion.

Councillor Liz Fairhurst, the County Council's Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: "Through our partnership with PA Consulting, we are proud to be at the forefront of using technology in care to assist people to live as independently as possible. Our trial of cobots is all about our carers-kit which supports them and makes their job easier.

"While we don't yet know the extent to which cobots will help transform the delivery of care, early results are very promising, and I am increasingly confident that we will see them play an important role in supporting our care workforce both now, and in the future."

The County Council/PA trial of cobots began in February this year, and was quickly adapted in response to the COVID-19 crisis, with further investigation of how they could be used to help manage the challenges faced by care workers and informal carers who are supporting vulnerable people at this time.

The use of a cobot has shown that care for a person with complex needs which may have previously required two carers working together, can, in some instances, be delivered effectively by a single individual. This not only alleviates some social distancing concerns but will also help to make the social care system more resilient. In Hampshire alone, it is estimated that an extra 6,000 people in caring jobs could be needed over the next five years.

Steve Carefull, social care technology expert at PA Consulting, said: "We are delighted to be working in partnership with Hampshire County Council to help them use cobot technology to create a more positive human future for care.

"Now, more than ever is the moment to embrace new technology. Our hope is that cobots could support care workers with the more physically demanding aspects of care, freeing carers up to focus on other aspects of human care or care for another vulnerable person."

Professor Yoshiyuki Sankai, President and CEO of Cyberdyne, says: "It is exciting to trial our HAL Lumbar type cobot for the first time in the UK with Hampshire County Council. We're looking forward to uncovering the potential it has to improve the delivery of care for carers and those who need support."

Notes to Editors

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About Care Technology

Care Technology refers to all technology solutions that reduce the risk of long-term harm for vulnerable individuals to improve their quality of life and provide reassurance to relatives and carers. Specifically, this will include wireless personal and environmental sensors to monitor those with care needs, enabling people to remain safe and independent inside and outside of their own home for longer. Immediate access to help when required 24 hours per day, ensures that should an untoward event occur, the right help can be provided immediately. 

Care technology is a continually developing sector but most of the effective equipment has existed for many years. Innovation and value in Care Technology is best achieved when the focus is on delivering service user outcomes not just on equipment. Working with individual service users and their carers achieves a sustainable improvement in their quality of life and the opportunity to remain independent in their own home for longer.

About Argenti Care Technology Partnership (Argenti)

With less money available for social care and more people than ever needing it, there's a growing realisation that technology can help fill the void.

Argenti is an innovative, award-winning, technology-enabled care (TEC) partnership inaugurated between Hampshire County Council (HCC) and a consortium led by PA Consulting. This unique transformation programme, which attracts international attention, focuses on delivering better outcomes for vulnerable adults by 'mainstreaming' TEC.

PA's transformation programme has resulted in a personalised TEC service for thousands of vulnerable people in Hampshire that 98% would recommend. The programme has realised net benefits of £9.8m over 5 years for HCC and subsequently £2.2m in 2 years in Barnet Council.

About PA Consulting

We believe in the power of ingenuity to build a positive human future in a technology-driven world. As strategies, technologies and innovation collide, we create opportunity from complexity.

Our diverse teams of experts combine innovative thinking and breakthrough use of technologies to progress further, faster. Our clients adapt and transform, and together we achieve enduring results.

An innovation and transformation consultancy, we are over 3,200 specialists in consumer, defence and security, energy and utilities, financial services, government, health and life sciences, manufacturing, and transport. Our people are strategists, innovators, designers, consultants, digital experts, scientists, engineers and technologists. We operate globally from offices across the UK, US, Europe, and the Nordics.

Bringing Ingenuity to Life.

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