Liverpool 5G Health and Social Care is a project run by health, social care and technology professionals from across Liverpool. We’ve created anti-loneliness apps so people can chat or play quizzes/ games and health and social care devices to help people live independently at home, for longer, with long-term conditions like diabetes and epilepsy.

The project received an extra £1.48 million in funding in 2019 – £0.94M in government funding, bringing the total Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) investment to £4.9M, and £0.54 million from project partners to continue the innovative work taking place in the city.

Led by Sensor City, our project includes Blu Wireless Technology, AIMES, DefProc, CGA Simulation, Liverpool City Council, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust (RLBUHT), University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University and the eHealth Cluster.

39% of us will be over 65 by 2036, which means more people are living with age-related illness like heart disease and diabetes. The NHS and social care services are looking after more sick people with less money. Our health and social care devices are designed to help care professionals continue to care for everyone to a high standard, allowing people to manage long-term conditions independently at home.

Analogue telehealth service are being switched off in 2022, which means we need to find affordable, future-fit technologies now to replace them – if we want to safeguard our health and social care services.

The products we’ve designed to support these services in the future include: PAMAN, which supports people to take their medicines safely at home via a pharmacy video link; Safehouse Sensors, which detect falls and changes in the behaviour of vulnerable people living alone; “Push to Talk” and the Anti-loneliness Gaming and Quizzing App, which connect socially isolated people to chat and play online games and VR distraction therapies helping people in hospital.

The technology currently supporting these health and social care devices is a 5G-style technology, which uses small receivers to transfer signals to those needing it. It is faster, transfers more data and is more reliable than other options, which is important to people relying on a digital health device to stay well.

A group of volunteers in Kensington, with conditions like epilepsy, diabetes and heart conditions are using the new technologies and have access to the free internet connection via the community intranet we have set up in the area to provide connectivity. This means their connection is both very secure and free to use during the project – there is no cost at all to volunteers. The antennas are designed to communicate over shorter distances, transmitting with lower power levels than larger antennas and low output powers. The technology transference needs to be very direct to work so doesn’t spread out over a large space. We’ve also created an online planning tool so can 100% guarantee that nothing is disturbed whilst we erect the community intranet – and that includes trees!

Our project has measurable social benefits and follows on from existing work on digital health and social care apps that was carried out by Liverpool Council, as part of the Stop and Go project.