Uber drivers will be trained to transport non-emergency patients around, according to social care start-up Cera, which has partnered with the ride-hailing app.
The partnership will also enable Cera's London-based carers to use Uber to get to the people they are caring for as quickly as possible. It forms part of an aim to "bring greater independence and mobility" to the UK's growing elderly population, as those who need care will also be able to book cars to get out and about when they otherwise might have been housebound or had to rely on someone else.
Disabled customers, or those who need more help, will be able to book UberAssist, or a fully wheelchair accessible vehicle through UberWav, where drivers have been through a disability equality training course.
Jo Bertram, regional general manager at Uber, said: “Uber’s mission is for everybody to have access to reliable, safe and affordable transportation and this partnership brings us a step closer to making that a reality. Simply by tapping a button on our app carers will be able to get to people quickly and efficiently, while those with mobility needs will have the freedom to get out and about.”
As well as the Uber partnership, Cera, which uses tech to match those needing care with an experienced carer, has also joined forces with several NHS hospitals and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) that cover over five million people, to deliver home care for patients.
The likes of Barts Health NHS Trust and the CCGs for Harrow, Brent and Hillingdon, will be using Cera's services to improve care for the elderly and crack down on bed-blocking.
Dr Ben Maruthappu, co-founder and president of Cera, said: “Today we’re firing the starting gun on revolutionising integration between health and social care through technology. These partnerships tackle major challenges in the NHS, cracking down on bed-blocking and delayed discharges, while providing high-quality and efficient care."
Care minister David Mowat said: “This is an interesting and innovative proposal which will help raise awareness of the challenges faced by the vulnerable elderly, and those with specific conditions that are becoming increasingly common in our society. I look forward to hearing more about the results in due course.”