‘Life threatening’ danger to alarm help for elderly

MONEY-saving plans to cut a service that helps elderly residents in Hucknall stay safely in their own homes have been branded “life-threatening”.

The call-monitoring system provides pensioners with a unit and pendant that allows them to raise an alarm whenever they need help in an emergency.

The kit offers a direct line to a support centre where officers of Ashfield Homes are on hand to to help by dispatching support or by contacting the emergency services.

But the Conservative-led Notts County Council is looking at revamping the service as part of a need to shave more than £150 million from its budget in the next three years.

Now the leader of Ashfield District Council, Coun John Knight (Lab), has slammed the proposal.

He says more than 2,000 residents in Ashfield used the service, and more than 900 life-threatening problems were tackled.

Coun Knight said: “The county council budget proposals have put forward a 55% reduction to this service — meaning that the worst-case scenario would be a reduction of support from 2,190 people to just 985 being able to live independently.

“This is one of the best services our elderly receive from the county council. These people have all made valid contributions to the system throughout their lives and I believe they have a right to this vital service.”

However Coun Stuart Wallace (Con), deputy lead member for adult social care and health at County Hall, said: “The proposals for community alarm and support services are that all current services will remain in place for the next two years. Following that, they will be replaced with more targeted services that meet the particular needs of older people to remain independent.

“We are proposing a new community outreach service for older people which will provide a range of practical advice and support to help them maintain their independence.

He added: “Older people identified as being at severe risk will benefit from community alarms and telecare equipment to help them remain in their own homes. Funding for this will come from the county council’s community care budget.”