To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 29 April 2020 to Question 34959, what estimate he has made of the number of portals required to provide each care home resident access to social contact; if he will work with technology companies to ensure that each care home resident has access to technological devices for communicating with loved ones; and if he will make a statement.
Following a donation of 2,050 Portal devices by Facebook, NHSX set up a pilot to test if and how the Portals could be used to help care home residents to connect with loved ones during COVID-19. As part of the pilot evaluation, NHSX has been collecting feedback from care staff and residents to identify the optimum number of Portals per care home to support communication with family and friends. Early results suggest having access to just one Portal in a care home can make a positive difference and improve social contact for residents. NHSX is working to deliver better connectivity for care homes, including enhanced broadband and WiFi, and is actively working with technology companies to improve access to devices for care home residents. Twelve of the major telecoms providers have also agreed to work with care homes that have slow, or no broadband connections, to improve connectivity wherever possible. A number of offers have recently been made available to care homes.