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07.11.18

Digital revolution risks deserting most vulnerable in Wales as one in four not online

A new report has found that one in four of the most vulnerable patients in Wales do not use the internet.

The report, ‘Digital Inclusion in Health and Care in Wales,’ says that patients with the greatest need to access services are at risk of being “left behind” due to a lack of digital skills and access.

One in four people with long-term illnesses or disability in Wales are not online, compared with just 10% of those without such a condition. Moreover, 25% of men and 32% of women aged 65 to 74 years old do not use the internet, compared to just 3% of 16- to 49-year olds. 

The report, commissioned by the Wales Co-operative Centre and the Carnegie UK Trust, comes just as a £3m investment to take on digital exclusion in healthcare was announced by cabinet secretary for health and social care services, Vaughan Gething.

Karen Lewis, director of communities and inclusion at the Wales Co-operative Centre, said: “The rapid growth in digital technologies brings transformative opportunities for people to become more active partners in their own care, interacting with services with the convenience they have come to expect in other areas of their lives.

“However, what we still find is that many citizens with the greatest need for health and care provision are also those with the lowest level of digital skills, with lack of access, skills, interest, motivation and trust increasingly the reasons for them not going online.”

Douglas White, head of advocacy at Carnegie UK Trust said: “Digital technology has great potential to tackle inequality and transform access to public services but we know that those who could benefit the most from technology are often the least likely to use it.

“We need urgent action to address this. We have been very pleased to work with the Wales Co-operative Centre over the past year to examine how to respond to the digital challenge in health and social care in Wales.

“The report published today sets out the priorities and gives a clear road map for action.”

 

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