Sir Nick Clegg has been appointed chairman of the advisory board of a homecare startup founded by a former NHS doctor.
Clegg joins the board of Cera, which was started by Mahiben Maruthappu in an effort to help tackle the social care crisis.
The startup, which uses technology to match up those needing care with an experienced carer, has partnered with the NHS to provide on-demand social care across the UK, and the firm says it has racked up growth of 25 per cent month-on-month.
Former deputy Prime Minister Clegg said:
The country faces huge challenges in the funding and provision of social care, and it is clear that fresh and innovative thinking is required to meet them.
We are only just beginning to see the potential of technology in public services, and I am enormously excited by the work that Cera is doing – particularly through the use of artificial intelligence – in this area.
Clegg said he was particularly drawn to the firm due to the way it has helped reduce the number of elderly clients who end up in hospital.
"Far too many vulnerable elderly people languish in hospital beds when they could be looked after better in their own home or in residential settings," he added.
Clegg, who was named in the New Year Honours list to receive a knighthood this year, chaired his first advisory board meeting on 28 February.
The social care startup has previously partnered with the likes of Uber, with drivers being trained to transport non-emergency patients around, and enable Cera's London-based carers to use Uber to get to those they are caring for as quickly as possible.
The firm has also teamed up with on-demand black cab app Gett to deliver over the counter medicines and other essential items to elderly patients, and help keep people out of hospital.
At present, Cera serves London and the Home Counties, with plans to rollout expansion to three more cities this year.
Read more: Q&A with Cera co-founder Ben Maruthappu