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Uber is now helping get older people in the U.K. to and from hospitals

Why it matters to you

Uber hasn't been in the news for much good lately, but this new partnership with the NHS in the U.K. could be a welcome change. The company will be helping London's older population.

Your grandparents could soon be getting some help from Uber. That is, if your grandparents reside in the U.K. Thanks to a new partnership between London-based geriatrics startup Cera and the transportation giant, the elderly portion of the U.K.’s population will soon be able to make their way home from the hospital with greater ease thanks to rides from Uber and its drivers, who are to be specially trained to assist people with disabilities.

The collaboration, which has been heralded by U.K. officials as “interesting and innovative,” hopes to give British citizens more control over the healthcare of their older citizens. Cera, which helps people book emergency or extended care for aged patients via their smartphones, allows users to communicate directly with patient caretakers and receive regular alerts. Recently, Cera inked a deal with a number of London hospitals that are part of Britain’s National Health Service, its publicly funded healthcare organization, which means that the NHS could soon be paying for health-related Ubers.

“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,” Dr. Ben Maruthappu, Cera’s co-founder, told the Telegraph. “These partnerships tackle major challenges in the NHS, cracking down on bed-blocking and delayed discharges, while providing high-quality and efficient care,” he added.

As part of this partnership, Uber will also be offering special vehicles which address the needs of the elderly or disabled. “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,” Jo Bertram, regional general manager at Uber, said in a statement. “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.”

It’s unclear as of yet whether this partnership will be found in cities outside of London, or for that matter, countries outside of the U.K. But if this model proves successful, it seems likely that Uber could begin playing a larger role in healthcare. “This pioneering partnership between Cera and Uber will radically integrate care and transport through technology,” Maruthappu concluded.