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£35m digital technology boost for rural healthcare

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Funding worth £35 million aimed at developing new forms of digital technology could be of great benefit to the elderly, disabled and those living in rural areas, say researchers

The money will go towards establishing rural digital economy research hubs at Aberdeen, Newcastle and Nottingham universities, where scientists can explore ways of using digital technology in healthcare.

The centres will be set up to improve sectors such as healthcare and transport, and help stimulate economic growth in the face of the financial downturn.

Some of the devices to be developed thanks to the cash include early flood warning systems, kitchen appliances to help people with dementia, and ‘walking sat-navs’ to help older pedestrians.

Researchers at Aberdeen University intend to use the money for research into equipment that monitors the health of people who become ill or get injured while mountain climbing.

The innovation comes in the form of a patch which is attached to patients by mountain rescuers in order to allow hospital doctors to follow a patient’s condition until they get to the scene.

Alasdair Mort, from the university’s Centre for Rural Health in Inverness, said the new funding is crucial to the technology.

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