Uber partners with social care provider to transform transportation for growing elderly population

Dr. Ben Maruthappu, Co-founder and President of Cera

Two of the world’s most pioneering on-demand technology platforms, Cera and Uber, have today announced an exclusive partnership to bring greater independence and mobility to the UK’s growing elderly population. Cera, the multi-award winning social care start-up – backed by former and current heads of JustEat, Standard Chartered bank, UBS and the World Health Organisation has also been chosen by the NHS to deliver quick, high quality, and transparent social care to patients out of hospital.


The partnership will enable Cera’s London-based carers to use Uber to get to the people they are caring for as quickly and seamlessly as possible. It will also give those who need care the freedom to book cars so they can get out and about when they would otherwise have been housebound, or had to rely on someone else. Disabled customers, or those who need a little extra help, will be able to book UberASSIST – or a fully wheelchair accessible vehicle through UberWAV – driven by one of Uber’s hundreds of fully licensed and top-rated partner drivers, who have been through a specially designed disability equality training course.


Alongside the partnership with Uber, Cera has also joined forces with several NHS hospitals and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) that cover over five million people, to boost quality and efficiency in the way social care is delivered. Barts Health NHS Trust and the CCGs for Harrow, Brent and Hillingdon, amongst others, will be using Cera’s services to improve care for the elderly, assist with hospital discharge, crack down on bed-blocking and prevent readmissions through higher quality and on-demand home care.

Specifically, at Barts Health NHS Trust – the largest NHS Trust in the country with a 16,000-strong workforce and turnover of £1.4bn – Cera will deliver home care for patients including those with dementia and cancer. Cera will operate across the Trust’s five hospitals, which are St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City, including the Barts Heart Centre; The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel; Newham University Hospital in Plaistow; and Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone and Mile End. Within other institutions, Cera’s services include working with stroke units to improve integration across health and social care, and transform home services for those suffering from recent strokes. 


Launched in November 2016 following a successful £1.3m seed round, Cera uses state-of-the-art technology to match those needing care with a highly experienced carer, at the right time, at the right place. The service, which is regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), is the only platform of its kind to get a carer to your door or hospital bed in under 24 hours. 


The start-up, which has already delivered tens of thousands of hours of care up and down the country, allows anyone to book and coordinate emergency or long-term care from their smartphone. Family members can also send messages to and receive updates from the carer in real time via Cera’s online portal, to ensure complete peace of mind about their loved ones, wherever they are in the world.


Dr. Ben Maruthappu, Co-founder and President of Cerasaid:  said: “This pioneering partnership between Cera and Uber will radically integrate care and transport through technology.  Older people and those with disabilities will now have access to the highest quality drivers, while carers will be able to efficiently travel to ensure they can provide services in the right place at the right time.”


Commenting on the partnership with NHS hospitals and CCGs, Maruthappu said: “Today we’re firing the starting gun on revolutionising integration between health and social care through technology. These partnerships tackle major challenges in the NHS, cracking down on bed-blocking and delayed discharges, while providing high-quality and efficient care. Cera’s aim is to set the precedent for technology-led care solutions that benefit patients, families and the NHS alike.”


Jo Bertram, Regional General Manager at Uber, said: “We’re really pleased to be partnering with Cera to help improve mobility for some of society’s most vulnerable people. Uber’s mission is for everybody to have access to reliable, safe and affordable transportation and this partnership brings us a step closer to making that a reality. Simply by tapping a button on our app carers will be able to get to people quickly and efficiently, while those with mobility needs will have the freedom to get out and about.”


Care Minister David Mowat said: “This is an interesting and innovative proposal which will help raise awareness of the challenges faced by the vulnerable elderly, ‎and those with specific conditions that are becoming increasingly common in our society. I look forward to hearing more about the results in due course.”


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