...and the new phone app that shows the way forward on public transport in Leeds
THE risks associated with loneliness are only now being fully recognised – with isolation seen to have a profound effect on health, particularly among the elderly.
The first survey of social isolation has revealed the problem to be particularly acute in parts of this region, with 70 per cent of those questioned in Leeds saying they do not have as much social contact as they would like, the highest figure in the country.
Yet while the Government is attempting to gauge the scale of social isolation, it is concerning that its means of measurement are so rudimentary.
By merely restricting its remit to those who are in receipt of social care, the Department of Health risks excluding scores of pensioners who could easily slip through the net.
Adults using social care are undoubtedly among those most at risk of suffering from loneliness and isolation, but loneliness poses a significant health risk to people long before they enter the social care system.
Norman Lamb, the Care and Support Minister, is right to call on people to step forward as volunteers to provide the extra layer of contact and support that is needed to make a difference to people’s lives.
However, if the data being used is too patchy for those co-ordinating the war on loneliness to know exactly where this need lies, then it surely follows that efforts to meet it will be hamstrung from the start.
Phone app shows way forward for transport
IF more people are to be encouraged on to public transport, then it’s important that it is made as easy as possible for them to use.
So many will welcome the move by First, the city’s biggest bus firm, to harness technology in the shape of a new phone app.
The paperless system allows customers to buy tickets online so that they can then just show the driver their phone when they get on the bus.
It sounds great in principle, now we have to see if it works as smoothly as billed. The next logical step would be for Leeds to follow London’s lead and have one payment that covers all modes of public transport.