Boost for the vulnerable as Town Hall scraps charges for life-saving alarm system

PUBLISHED: 14:44 31 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:29 05 October 2010

HUNDREDS of vulnerable adults have been given a massive boost after Tower Hamlets council scrapped annual charges for its emergency life-saving alarm system. The Town Hall s ruling cabinet unanimously agreed to remove the £100 charges for Telecare

HUNDREDS of vulnerable adults have been given a massive boost after Tower Hamlets council scrapped annual charges for its emergency life-saving alarm system.

The Town Hall's ruling cabinet unanimously agreed to remove the £100 charges for 'Telecare' on Wednesday night.

Telecare is a system of alarms and sensors installed in the homes of older and vulnerable people to monitor falls and changes in blood pressure or temperature.

The sensors, which also work via pendants and wristbands, are also triggered if someone gets out of bed in the middle of the night and fails to return within a certain time.

The alert is raised with Telecare call centre staff who then despatch or organise appropriate care, such as contacting a relative or calling for a doctor.

When charges were introduced 10 years ago, the numbers using it fell drastically and the issue the Labour party in Tower Hamlets.

But they have now made amends by making it free again as part of a drive to meet Government targets to expand the system.

Although it will mean around about £60,000 lost income from the some 600 people who use the service, costs are being shared with Tower Hamlets primary care trust.

The council will also be using Government grants to expand the service in the next few years.

Maria Albert, who lives in Bethnal Green and suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, wears a bracelet with a button to press should she be taken ill.

She also has a pendant which sends out an alert should she fall and a bogus caller device at the front door that she can press if she gets unwanted callers.

She said the system gave her "peace of mind" when at home alone.

"I used to be nervous when my husband, Robin, went out," she added. "I'd make sure he'd bring me everything I might need and put it nearby so I wouldn't have to move at all.

"Now I feel more confident getting around on my own."

Husband Robin urged others in similar situations to take up the system.

"It's much easier going out knowing that if anything happens the Telecare team will be able to contact me or the other key holders who can check on Maria," he said.

"I'd recommend it to others and have suggested it to my mother, who I think would really benefit from it."

The expansion of this service has been a key strand of Government policy and the service itself is very popular with service users.

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