News Release: TechRights paper launched at unique Scottish Care event

NEWS RELEASE

At an event in central Glasgow today (Friday 24th August), Scottish Care, with the support of the Clydesdale Bank, is hosting the first ever dedicated event to be held in Scotland on technology and its use in older people’s care and support.

Tech Care, Care Tech is being held in the Strathclyde University Technology and Innovation Centre.

Technology has an increasingly important role to play in all our lives. In social care, technology is being used to enable individuals to maintain their independence for as long as possible, to support staff more effectively in their work, and to ensure that individuals remain in control of their supports for as long as possible.

This unique event brings together over 140 people including designers and developers alongside those using and working in social care services. Through a set of interactive workshops participants will hear about cutting edge innovation, contribute their own ideas and have an opportunity to consider what technology might mean for them in their home or workplace. The event will explore some of the most creative technologies now available and some which are currently under development.

The event also sees the launch a new report on the issue of human rights and ethics as they relate to the use of technology in older person’s care in Scotland. Written by Scottish Care CEO Dr Donald Macaskill, ‘Tech Rights’, addresses some of the challenges which the increased use of technology including ‘care-bots’, and ‘sensor devices’ are now posing for developers and older people.

The report contains a number of recommendations, including:

  • that the Scottish Government should fund and support the creation a human-rights based Ethical Charter for Technology and Digital in Scotland;
  • that we should establish a Scottish Centre for Human Rights and Ethics in Technology;
  • that we should develop a national awareness and information strategy around the positive use of technology for social care and
  • that we should develop and resource the social care workforce to enable today’s workforce to be innovators and co- designers.

Dr Donald Macaskill, said:

“The whole day is an attempt to recognise that we live in a dynamic and fast changing world where technology has the potential to do so much which is good for the care of our older citizens. But the day will also reflect on some of the dangers and limitations of technology, and how we need to develop a human rights and ethical framework for the use of this amazing technology. We have to start having the debate about whether we have a human right to be cared for by a human being rather than just by a machine. Many of us live with smart technology in our homes every day – but have we really given thought to the way in which the data gathered by these devices is being used and by whom?

“Scotland has been a proud defender and promotor of human rights within social care and health. I believe there is a real opportunity, faced with the challenges of Artificial Intelligence and wider technology, for Scotland to be at the forefront of the debate around the role of ethics and human rights of technology.

“There is an urgent need to collectively develop an ethical and human rights-based foundation for the future design, development and use of technology within social care, and indeed, more generally in Scottish society. Without such a foundation and the establishment of clear human rights principles there is a very real possibility that the opportunities of this new age will remain untapped.”

Derek Breingan, National Head of Health & Social Care Sector, Clydesdale Bank said:

"With growing demand for care services, and a forecast shortage of carers, there is no doubt that the sector will have to embrace technology if we are to continue to provide the necessary levels of care and support. At Clydesdale Bank we are already seeing some of our health and social care customers introduce new products, systems and equipment to assist delivery of services but the pace of change across the sector is generally slow. That is why we are sponsoring this event with Scottish Care to help explore and discuss the current technology available and learn about what might be available in the future to ensure more providers of care services are informed."

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