OAP says service is too expensive

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A pensioner says she is considering cancelling her 24-hour emergency care alarm after the price was hiked up by East Dunbartonshire Council.

The cost of the service is set by local authorities and it recently rose to £18.71 per month for East Dunbartonshire residents.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that residents in neighbouring North Lanarkshire get the service for free.

Jean Rodger (79), from Harestanes, suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and is housebound in her upstairs flat.

She said: “I’m a pensioner on a fixed income.

“This has been bugging me for some time. They say the charge goes up goes up two and a half per cent every year. I pay it by direct debit every month but I’ve been swithering on whether to cancel it.

“It gets to the stage it’s going to be unaffordable. My daughter says I should really try to keep the alarm, but I feel as though I’m being exploited.”

Jean had to depend on the alarm button when she fell in her home and was not close to a phone. She pressed the button, which she wears around her neck, and the operator alerted her daughter who came to help her right away. Paramedics were also called to check her over.

She said: “I do realise it’s a 24-hour service and needs to be paid for, but why can other districts afford to do it for free?”

John Simmons, director of integrated health and social Care transition, said: “Invoicing for the council’s 24-hour personal alarm service is spread across 10 or 11 direct debit payments per year but the weekly charge remains the same at £3.98 (previously £3.86).The weekly costs can be different for each council since the service offered is different. For example, some councils do not provide a response team and some do not provide personal care, so you are not comparing like-with-like.”