Pensioners angry over slashed check calls

A petition is being raised on a Bridlington estate after pensioners were told monthly visits from wardens would cease.

Resident have been used to the regular visits to check that their Telecare equipment – which involves arrays of sensors and alarms to allow people to continue living independently – is working properly

But East Riding Council says the equipment can now be remotely tested.

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Veteran campaigner Mick Pilling, who lives on the Pasture Lane estate in Bridlington, said people had reacted to the announcement with shock.

He said: "The wardens were told last Tuesday and Monday this week they were going round people's houses saying that it would be the last time they visited. People were flabbergasted. Some people won't see anyone now as they don't get out. These wardens are a lifeline to the people who have no-one, who are ill or have the need to talk."

The changes will mean job losses, but compulsory redundancies are not expected.

East Riding Council said they would refer people to Age UK or other groups providing befriending services. They said the situation for those in sheltered accommodation would not change.

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A statement said: "Anyone who has signed up to the Lifeline bronze, silver or gold service and will miss the social contact of someone coming to check the equipment is being offered the opportunity to be referred to Age UK or other befriending service providers."

The council said the wardens' service would be affected.

It added: "The outcome of the above review will not be forthcoming until mid-January 2011.

"Once the outcome is known, the council will be seeking to reduce the number of posts through our appropriate employment policies."