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LibDems challenge Ealing Council over scraping of in-house Careline service

Ealing Liberal Democrats at last week’s (16 April 2024) full council meeting have challenged Ealing Council over the way it has cancelled Careline, its in-house 24-hour alarm service used by thousands of elderly, disabled and vulnerable residents across the borough.

It follows sheltered housing residents in Ealing staging a demo in April outside Ealing Council offices to get the Labour-run council to reverse plans to ditch the Ealing Careline service.

Sheltered housing residents belonging to community union ACORN, along with representatives of Committee for Action in Sheltered Housing and Ealing Reclaim Social Care Action Group, went to council offices to address councillors and seek a reversal of the decision to close Ealing Careline.

According to campaigners, users of the service have been left in limbo and been given confusing information about alternatives with none said to provide a like for like service to what is currently offered.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Andrew Steed, spokesperson for caring services said: “The Liberal Democrats said the changes will mean that many users may be a lot more for the same type of service. The Labour-run Ealing Council have brought the changes in quickly and with no consultation, meaning that many users have felt uneasy about the changes. When I pressed the Council for details in the public meeting, sadly they have not responded with a clear answer. This will not reassure users.”

The emergency support service provides a pull cord or button press emergency call out service to those needing it.

Previously, trade union Unison wrote to the council over its concerns that the service was to be shut with the loss of 15 staff who handled 124,000 alarm calls and incidents over the past year.

Speaking to EALING.NEWS, an Ealing Council spokesperson said: “Ensuring that residents continue to receive the care they need is a top priority for us. We made the difficult decision to transfer Careline to Harrow because of concerns about the council’s ability to deliver the service to the standards our residents deserve and expect.

“Residents in receipt of adult social care continue to receive telecare telephone monitoring services via the Harrow Careline service, and we are considering commissioning an improved in-person responder service to supplement the Harrow Careline offer.”

They added: “We continue to talk with and listen to residents in sheltered accommodation about the changes and we are providing support to help them choose and arrange telecare services with alternative providers. Where appropriate, residents are also being referred to social care for assessments.

“Ealing Careline was also heavily subsidised by the council and needed significant additional investment for it to be modernised and fit for purpose. Given the significant pressures on council budgets, we simply could not afford to do this, but we have made arrangements so that all residents continue to receive the support they need.”

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