‘Glimmer of hope’ over elderly care services in Lincolnshire

The sheltered housing complex in Essex Road, Stamford. Photo: MSMP100411-001am EMN-141004-110145001
The sheltered housing complex in Essex Road, Stamford. Photo: MSMP100411-001am EMN-141004-110145001

Sheltered housing residents met council social care bosses to air their concerns about changes to wellbeing support services.

Lincolnshire County Council’s assistant director for public health Tony McGinty visited Stamford on Tuesday to discuss the new wellbeing service.

The meeting was called by sheltered housing residents in Stamford. Last week, the Mercury reported a range of concerns among the elderly over the removal of housing wardens under the council’s new service.

Hillary Close resident John Butcher, who pushed hard for the meeting, said he was pleased with how it had gone.

He added: “The general feeling of most of the residents at the meeting was that the questions they posted had been answered in an honest and favourable manner.

“The residents feel a little less apprehensive and there is a glimmer of hope that something may emerge.”

The main concern among residents was the removal of the wardens scheme.

Under the previous system, South Kesteven District Council provided on-site wardens on behalf of the county council.

But under the new scheme, where care services across Lincolnshire are delivered under one contract, there are no wardens. Instead residents can use a range of electronic alarms and equipment which get them through to a central call centre.

The call could then be forwarded either to the emergency services, a relative or support staff.

After speaking to residents Mr McGinty said: “The meeting was productive and I hope I was able to help people feel more reassured about the change and what they can expect from the new wellbeing service.

“Residents seemed to think that in general the new service sounded like a good one, but had concerns about the way it was rolled out.

“I agreed to a number of actions to improve the transition – for example, we’ll be providing residents with additional information on the new service and how it works.

“We’re also asking the new service provider to arrange for residents’ relatives to be present during assessments to ensure everyone understands the process and to answer any further queries.

“And we’ll monitor the new service’s actual response times to allay concerns about how quickly out-of-hours staff reach Stamford residents.”

People who wish to find out more about the service can call the county council on 01522 516318. The district council also plans to hold drop-in sessions to allow sheltered housing residents to raise any concerns they may have.