There has been some misunderstanding in the newspapers about Tendring District Council’s (TDC) Careline Service and the possible introduction of a lifting service for Careline customers who have a fall and need help to get them up on their feet again. Therefore, I felt it is only right to clear the matter up.

TDC Careline provides support services that help residents to live their lives as independently as possible, providing products such as monitored pill dispensers, temperature monitors and epilepsy sensors.

When a resident has a fall the alarm is raised to the Careline Control Centre staff by pressing the pendant alarm or by a Falls Detector.

When the alarm has been raised trained Careline operators answer, speak to the resident, assess the situation and then get the appropriate help. If the person raising the alarm is unable to speak the operators will have the relevant information needed to know who is calling and get the appropriate help.

When help is needed to assist a resident up after a fall the information is passed to the East of England Ambulance Service by the operator. However, as the ambulance service have to prioritise such calls to them it could mean leaving some people waiting on the floor for some time before an ambulance attends as frontline ambulance staff may need to attend critical emergency incidents elsewhere.

In collaboration with the East of England Ambulance Service TDC’s Careline Service trialled a pilot lifting service in 2013. It was funded by the North East Essex NHS Clinical Commissioning Group to provide assistance to those linked up to Careline.

Under the pilot service Careline staff went to the aid of someone who has fallen without the need of an ambulance, where appropriate. The initiative meant a better service for customers of Careline and reduced unnecessary ambulance call-out.

There was no additional charge made to Careline customers for this service as it was funded by the North East Essex NHS Clinical Commissioning Group.

Once the funding ended TDC decided to look into whether this service was something Careline customers would like to see continue as other councils such as Colchester, Croydon, Chesterfield, Dudley, Taunton and Herefordshire have introduced it.

TDC consulted and 40 per cent of 2,500 customers responded. Of those 60 per cent were in favour of the extra assistance.

TDC are now considering offering the service as an additional facility at a cost of around £25.92 per year, regardless of how many times they use the service.

The service would be available 24/7 and the charge would be required to pay the wages of the fully trained staff to provide the cover and also to provide an appropriate vehicle. There is no intention of making a profit out of this proposal.

No decision has been made as to whether this service should or should not be provided and if it is provided what the final format will be. That decision will be made in February.

If the proposed service is not introduced falls will be dealt with by Careline

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