Supporting People funding reductions – telecare panic (UK)

The situation described in the following article in the Liverpool Echo can be looked at in a number of ways and we wonder what other takes readers will have…

One has to wonder, given that the reduction in the Supporting People funding from April has been known about for a long time, what planning has been done between the council, the housing providers and the telecare service provider to prevent this situation arising. One could also wonder what alternative, less expensive, systems have been investigated and ponder the ethics of removing from people’s homes something which is potentially life saving (and cost saving further down the line). Ultimately, if substantial numbers of people are saying they will not pay an extra £2.99 per week [interesting number] then perhaps they are saying that the service and the much-trumpeted reassurance it provides is not, in reality, so important to them. Liverpool elderly could be at risk from loss of £500,000 funding for emergency care alarms. Check out the comments too.

Readers may want to compare that with the ongoing publicity in nearby Trafford which is encouraging people over 80 to take up a year’s free telecare trial. Events held to promote free telecare for Trafford’s over 80s.

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Comments

  1. Cathy

    I think it is shamefully predictable and such a waste of how many years of habituating people to having a safety net just to whisk it out from under them. And that is before we even dare to think that in those years they could have had telecare supports rather than simply having a community alarm.

    One could ponder the ethics of removing the systems but that would presuppose that the ethics of ensuring people could/would use them if needed had been sound in the first place? One could also ponder the fate of all that unloved and unwanted community alarm equipment …

    As for whether £2.99 is affordable this will very much depend on whether the individual has ever used the alarm and their feelings about the service and support they received as a consequence. Evelyn frequently complained about the price of her system (which is a little more than £2.99) but funnily enough I never hear it mentioned now she wears the pendant and has been picked up off her floor on several occasions. What is more she is like a walking talking billboard for our Local Authority system – they should be paying her!

    • Steve Hards

      @Cathy
      It’s a salient point that perceived value and willingness to pay greatly improves after someone has needed to use it in a real situation. Perhaps an enterprising provider will come up with a ‘Free Till You Fall‘ offer that provides a free service until the person has to use it, at which time they would be charged the full one-off costs associated with the response, and then the monthly fee would start.

      Of course, from the service provider’s perspective, to make it pay you would want to target people most at risk, which may be a Very Good Thing. Also, one might then see add-ons to household insurance that would cover the cost of the response service. (Perfect for SAGA, no?)

  2. UNATTR

    Sheltered accommodation becomes flats. People will not fund what they previously got for ‘free’ (as in, included in their service charge) if they do not see the value of it. Some housing landlords do see the benefit in these systems and have taken the SP funding hit since 2011. Some do not or cannot justify absorbing that extra outlay so are decommissioning community alarm systems in blocks – they are not even removing them as this costs money.

    The boxes on the walls are hardwired and still make noises when pressed or pulled which can leave some people under the impression that these systems are still active. When you have been used to a system for 5, 10, 20 years and your cognitive ability is declining you don’t always take in the message from a resident’s meeting, an RSL letter or chat from a warden (what’s one of those???). Which means they can be pulling or pressing and waiting on the response thus delaying any emergency assistance that could be on the way if they had dialled the 9s. Terrible if you start delving into the golden hour of strokes and heart attacks. Horrible if you are just anxious and need someone to talk to.

    The things that made sheltered housing ‘sheltered’; the wardens/scheme managers and the community alarm system are disappearing rapidly unless you can afford it. Sheltered will be for the reasonably well off only.

    One final point to note that could have dire consequences. The smoke detection systems in lots of sheltered schemes also links into the monitoring centre. Ending the monitoring centre ends the alerting. If you are used to the fire service ‘just turning up’ then you still won’t ring them. Disaster?

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