Princess Royal2 HRH The Princess Royal has called for greater use of personalised technology (PT) to help people with learning disabilities achieve their goals in life.

Speaking at a conference hosted by learning disability charity Hft at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool on April 4, The Princess Royal said she had been impressed by how much PT had developed in recent years and the effect it could have on people’s lives.

“Technology can really allow some people to move on in a way we never believed was possible before,” she said.

The Princess Royal added that, given how the population is ageing, PT could have benefits for everyone in society. “I suggest we pay strict attention now so we know how to make best use of it in the future. And if we do that now we will improve hugely the lives of those with disabilities sooner rather than later and allow them to be as independent as they want to be. Technology can revolutionise their ability to do that.”

But the Princess Royal also advised caution – saying it should not be viewed as a cost-cutting measure. “It is really only since the recession that there has been a sector-wide increase in interest in PT – no prizes for guessing why that might be. We know that savings be made using PT but we have to make sure that it is led by the values of choice, independence, dignity and control and that’s not always as easy as it sounds.”

The Hft conference focused on how technology can be used as a tool for people with learning disabilities, and those who support them, to monitor their own health and play a role in the prevention, detection and early intervention of illness.

The conference drew together representatives from across the health and social care sector, including commissioners, professionals, technology manufacturers, clinicians and service providers with the aim of forming collaborative partnership to create a cohesive approach to the future development of personalised technology. 

Other speakers at the conference included Lesley Arnold, who has a learning disability, who shared her story of how PT has helped her to move into her own home.