Despite the UK government’s commitment to telecare services through its 3millionlives campaign, access to such services “varies greatly” across the country, according to a recently-published report by the Good Governance Institute.

No national picture of variations in availability and usage currently exists, says the institute. In response, it undertook a Freedom of Information audit of local councils in the UK to find out how they offered telecare services. Its report was published in September.

The audit received responses from 121 out of 152 councils in England, which is equivalent to 80 percent of the total. It found significant variations in the numbers of people using telecare services between councils. For example, one council said it had over 12,000 people using telecare in 2011/12, while another said it had just 75 users.

The report also found a mixed understanding among councils of how to define telecare and how to integrate it into their wider social care services.

The report says a total of 1.5 million people currently use telecare in England, but figures gathered via the audit indicate councils only account for a small proportion of this total.

Access to telecare varies greatly across the country. While 80 percent of councils who responded to the audit confirmed they had eligibility criteria, the assessment processes were inconsistent across the country. Others do not have criteria at all but make telecare universally available.