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News : Careline Response Service in Carlisle is Being Axed
Carlisle, UK, Feb 4, 2016 -- A lifeline which helps 1,200 elderly and vulnerable people to live independently in their own homes is being axed.
Twenty two jobs are under threat as Riverside overhauls its Careline service in Carlisle and Telecare operations elsewhere in the country.
A consultation is now running with the Unite union after the news was broken to staff at a meeting in the Hallmark Hotel on Tuesday afternoon.
Riverside will continue to run its telecare alarms – with calls taken by staff at an existing call centre – but has confirmed it will not offer a ‘response service’ to Carlisle customers from April 1.
Instead, the group says it will be working with its customers who need a response service to identify alternative providers.
The housing group says it has been subsidising Careline and its response service ‘for many years’.
Careline and Telecare services offer individuals and families peace of mind.
Customers pay for personal alarms and sensors to be fitted in their homes, which can be activated in times of need or emergency.
Where alarms are activated, trained staff try to make contact with customers directly and arrange the best response.
Emergency services are called in when customers cannot be reached.
Riverside, on its website, says it operates a 24-hour Telecare monitoring service for over 4,000 older and vulnerable people through its Liverpool and Carlisle monitoring centres.
Following a 12-month review, Riverside has announced it is changing how its Telecare services are provided by Careline in the city.
It has confirmed it is scrapping its Carlisle response service as it looks to plug a hole in its finances.
Riverside says it has been ‘significantly affected’, like the rest of the housing sector, by the changes made by the Government in its summer 2015 Budget.
It says that, as a result of the Comprehensive Spending Review, all housing associations must reduce the majority of their rents by one per cent a year for each of the next four years.
Carol Matthews, Riverside’s chief executive, said: "Riverside prides itself on being a responsible business and this starts with treating our people well and fairly.
"This is a very difficult time not just at Riverside but across the sector, however we will work with staff and our union colleagues to mitigate the impact of this as much as possible.
"An overview and timeline for these changes has been shared with all colleagues and they will continue to be fully informed at every stage.
"Our priority remains to provide excellent services to our customers whilst remaining a strong and resilient business into the future."
A Carlisle woman, who previously used Careline’s services, told the News & Star: "I’ve been told things are going to be dealt with by Liverpool.
"What happens if you push your button or pull your cord? Is it going to be for the police or ambulance to respond?
"They are stretched enough up here as it is."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Friday, February 5, 2016