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Bin sensors could prompt GPs to check up on frail elderly, report suggests

The bins of elderly patients could be fitted with sensors prompting their GP to check up on them if they are not putting out their rubbish, a report has suggested.

Think-tank Nesta described a 2025 scenario whereby 70-year-old ‘Martin’ had not ‘put his rubbish out for two weeks in a row’ and ‘this is automatically registered on the council’s system through the sensors in his bins’, automatically generating a notification for his GP that Martin ‘might need support’.

The Government-funded report said: ‘From this his GP can make a quick phone call to check everything is ok.’

The report focused on how councils can save money by making all of their interactions with the public digital, but also digitally link services, such as in the example.

It said this had the potential to help ‘labour intensive services – such as eldercare, social care, and childcare – save costs and deliver better outcomes for service users by: intervening earlier, helping people manage their own conditions, and engaging a broader social network to provide care and support’.

If councils take up the report’s recommendations, they could save £14.7bn by 2025, the think-tank suggested.