Town hall scraps controversial care monitor' charge after 10 years
PUBLISHED: 21:25 12 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:32 05 October 2010
HUNDREDS of vulnerable adults in London's East End will no longer have to pay for their emergency life-saving alarm system. Tower Hamlets has agreed to scrap the £100 fee for its Telecare' monitoring system introduced in a controversial move 10 years ago. Numbers using the monitoring service fell drastically when the charges began, which at the time rocked the ruling Labour party at the Town Hall
HUNDREDS of vulnerable adults in London's East End will no longer have to pay for their emergency life-saving alarm system.
Tower Hamlets council has agreed to scrap the £100 fee for its 'Telecare' monitoring system.
Fees were introduced in a controversial move 10 years ago for the system of alarms and sensors installed in the homes of the elderly and the vulnerable to monitor falls or detect changes in blood pressure or temperature.
Numbers using it fell drastically when the charges began in 1998, which at the time rocked the ruling Labour party at the Town Hall.
But they are now dropping the charges altogether, as part of a drive to meet Government targets to expand the monitoring scheme.
The system uses sensors on pendants and wristbands which are even triggered if the wearer gets out of bed in the middle of the night and fails to return within a certain time.
Maria Albert, who has 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, while a 'bogus caller' alarm has also been fitted at her front door of her home in Bethnal Green to deal with unwanted callers.
"I used to be nervous when my husband went out," she said.
"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, especially now it's free.
He said: "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."
Scrapping the fees means around £60,000 less for the Town Hall coffers from the 600 subscribers still using the service.
But the costs are being shared with Tower Hamlets Primary Care trust, while the council is using Government grants to expand the service in the next few years.