Dementia patients being given NHS slippers fitted with GPS tracker so they can be found if they wander off

Alerts are sent to carers’ mobile phones if a user strays from a designated area, such as a nursing home yard or garden.

Patients can be pinpointed to an exact location on a map, reducing the risk they will be harmed and need costly hospital care.

The tracker costs £75 to buy, has a £26 monthly fee, and is built into a sole insert that can be switched to other footwear.

Charities last night welcomed the “lifesaving” initiative, which is being trialled in Dorset, saying it will reassure relatives.

And with one in four hospital beds occupied by a dementia patient, at a cost of £400 a night, it could save the NHS millions.

Sally Copley, from the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “When used appropriately, the use of GPS tracking for people with dementia can provide reassurance and even save lives.”

Professor Tony Young, from NHS England, said: “GPS smart slippers help keep patients with dementia safe and give families peace of mind.”

The UK Space Agency today launches a search for  other  tech inventions that could benefit the NHS. Designers will be given a share of £4million to develop their ideas and get them into hospitals, GP surgeries and care homes.

Emily Gravestock, from the UK Space Agency, said: “Britain’s world-leading space sector continues to grow and support vital public services like the NHS with innovative applications.”

Professor Young added: “Through this competition we are seeking the latest greatest, ideas and technical solutions to help address the modern challenges facing our health and care services.”

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