South Australia appoints local technology provider for CCTV trial in aged care homes – 14 months after being announced

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Plans to trial CCTV monitoring in the state’s Government-run aged care homes appear to be back on track after the State Government announced a replacement for the UK company originally appointed to head up the project.

As we covered here, the SA Government had said it would invest $500,000 in a 12-month trial of UK company Care Protect’s surveillance and monitoring system running across at least five SA Health-managed facilities in late 2019 in response to the 2017 Oakden scandal.

But Oakden whistle-blower Stewart Johnston sensationally quit the trial in October last year, slamming Government bureaucracy meetings were like a cross between TV parodies Utopia and Yes Minister – shortly after, it was revealed the Government was on the lookout for a new provider.

Now seven months later, South Australian company Sturdie Trade Services will trial the equipment and provide a monitoring service at two SA Health operated aged care homes, Northgate House, and Mount Pleasant Aged Care.

Established in 2006, Sturdie says it has “an extensive national team of skilled and experienced electrical and security personnel and longstanding partners throughout Australia and New Zealand”.

Its AI solution already detects and reports alarms for falls, violence, restraints, suffocation, and cries for help according to its website.

Health and Wellbeing Minister Stephen Wade gave no start date for the trial however, saying that COVID-19 restrictions on visiting aged care homes had also slowed the project.

“The trial was initially planned to start across five sites, however, responses to the tender have led to the project initially focusing on two pilot sites,” he said.

Residents, families, and staff at the homes will be consulted on the trial, with residents able to opt in and out at any time.