Vulnerable Sunderland people are being held to ransom by massive hike in Telecare service

Peter Stracey House resident Bill Bridgewood, who is unhappy with the price increase, with Coun George Howe, left.
Peter Stracey House resident Bill Bridgewood, who is unhappy with the price increase, with Coun George Howe, left.

Technology was meant to free us, instead, it sometimes feels that it is holding us to ransom.

The Telecare service is a case in point.

On paper, and in practice, there is much to be admired. A technology-based care system in which elderly and disabled people can be monitored in their own accommodation.

It’s good for the user, who has the reassurance that professional help is only an alarm call away.

It’s good for the care providers too. They can respond when there is a need, saving cash on unnecessary home visits.

It’s good for all because it is cheap and efficient.

Now, however, it’s not so cheap.

As we reveal today, Sunderland Care and Support has confirmed that its Telecare service is going up from just under £3 a week to £5 a week.

By any stretch that’s a significant rise. At 70% it’s way above the rate of inflation. Ironically, the rise has been blamed, in part, on ‘inflationary pressures.’

It’s a claim that, unsurprisingly, doesn’t wash with some.

Tory councillor George Howe branded the move shameful.

While 71p a day may seem like good value to Sunderland Care and Support chief operating officer Philip Foster, it adds up to an awful lot of money to those who use the service.

The majority of users are not well-heeled professionals, but vulnerable folk with little to their name.

We understand that our care services are under increasing pressure and that government funding is often found wanting, but a whopping increase for a service that brings peace of mind to the vulnerable isn’t right.

The wrong people are being held to ransom.