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DCMS claims successes in Liverpool 5G Testbed


The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has claimed a series of successes from the Liverpool 5G Testbed project for using the technology in health and social care.

It said the project – led by the University of Liverpool under the DCMS £200 million 5G Testbed and Trials Programme – has shown that healthcare applications and devices can deliver substantial cost savings to providers and improved health and quality of life to users.

DCMS highlighted a group of use cases of 5G, including for the CGA Simulation social gaming app, which allows users to meet with online to chat and play games. Of the 49 who took part there was over a 25% reduction in those who often or sometimes felt lonely, and a better quality of life equated to over £8,000 per person.

In another project the Push to Talk device was used to connect individuals receiving social care with local communities. Data showed a 75% increase in those saying they hardly felt left out and a fall of over 15% in the number of GP visits by participants.

Safehouse Technologies used internet of things sensors over a private 5G network to monitor living conditions of vulnerable users, sending any necessary alerts to friends, family and professional carers through a mobile application. This was reported to lead a 10% reduction in GP visits, a 40% decrease in hospital visits, reductions in the time burden on carers and improved quality of life worth over £4,000 per person.

Pharmacy service

The Paman project provided on-call access to a pharmacy assistant for vulnerable people, who were monitored taking their medication through a video link during an allocated slot. This led to a reduction of over 50% in people taking the wrong the medication, a medication adherence level of 95% against a national average of 55%, 60% fewer visits to hospital, 30% few visits to GPs, a saving of 300 hours per person per year for care workers, and cost savings of over £2,000 per user per year.

A fifth project, Telehealth in a Box for using virtual reality headsets as a distraction in palliative care and pain management, was reported to be inconclusive.

The Liverpool 5G Testbed has involved the deployment of a publicly owned 5G network in the Kensington ward of Liverpool to improve connectivity in target houses and other buildings such as care homes. It used the city council’s fibre CCTV ring and lampposts for the backhaul.

It is being followed up by the Liverpool 5G Create project to stimulate the development of low cost 5G technology, improve future pandemic resilience and reduce inequalities.

Image from iStock, Jackie Niam

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