A local council has defended plans to charge pensioners £26 to help them to their feet if they’ve had a fall at home.
Tendring District Council, in Clacton-on-Sea in Essex, has come under fire after proposing a £25.92 additional annual charge to around 2,500 Essex residents who use its Careline service.
The “lifting service” will mean Careline staff go to the home of the elderly person with a touch of a special alarm button.
Michael Le Cornu, chairman of the Tendring Pensioners’ Action group told the Mirror it meant people would in effect be “penalised for falling”.
He said pensioners had paid tax for health services all their lives – and were in effect being asked to pay again.
But Paul Honeywood, a local councillor in favour of the scheme, told the Independent the council needed the additional charge in order to continue offering the service: “Having consulted users we have discovered there is a demand and the idea is now going through the budget process with a final decision to be made in February.”
The council says it has already consulted customers and 60 per cent of those who responded said they were in favour of the move, which will increase their current £19.24 monthly bill.
The scheme hopes to reduce the need to call the ambulance for simple falls.
A pilot scheme offering the service was initially funded by the North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group in association with the East of England Ambulance Service.