• Uber-style app for booking carers launched nationally

A smartphone app which allows people to book carers on-demand for friends or family has been rolled out across the country.

The service, which has been launched by Cera, guarantees that users will receive a visit from a carer within four hours, once the service is fully operational. The initiative follows the launch of another scheme, Doctaly, that aims to guarantee patients same day appointments with an NHS GP in their area who is free.

Dr Ben Maruthappu, who started Cera along with web entrepreneur Marek Sacha, said: “Often elderly people can suffer from multiple conditions, and end up needing carers three or four times a day. No carer works seven days a week so you need a system which responds flexibly to what people want, and to the hours people can work.”

Cera claims that the app will give families control over their loved ones’ care, and put the power in their hands when it comes to finding the right carer. It also means that they can choose when they want a carer to come.

However, Dr Maruthappu was careful to emphasise that the ‘on-demand’ nature of the app did not mean that the standard of care would be inadequate.

“We don’t want care to become a commodity,” he explained. “This kind of work is very personal and intimate, and it’s really important to find the right person.”