Why sheltered accommodation bosses are removing all stairlifts from two Hartlepool schemes

Angry elderly and disabled people say they will be forced to move home after sheltered accommodation bosses decided to take out their stairlifts.

Monday, 23rd December 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 24th December 2019, 2:05 pm
Ardrossan Court resident Doris Reddington using one of the communal stairlifts that are to be removed.

Residents aged in their 80s and 90s at Ardrossan Court in Rossmere Hartlepool are dismayed at the decision of landlords Thirteen and say they face being cut off or having to move after 20 years or more.

They say they rely on the 11 stairlifts in communal staircases to get in and out of their flats due to disabilities and mobility problems.

The residents were recently told the stairlifts are to be taken out on health and safety grounds as they are not suitable for communal use.

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Ardrossan Court residents group chairman Tom Stewart and residents are angry over stairlift removal plans.

It means those who live on the first and second floors and cannot manage the stairs will have to move, most likely to another complex.

Betty Hewson, a second floor Ardrossan Court resident, told the Mail: “I’m 90 years old and have been here for 14 years. I don’t want to move.

“I have a disabled daughter and she needs the stairlift to come and see me.”

Second floor resident Jim Kealy, 82, said people feel safe and secure in Ardrossan Court and do not want to move.

He said: “It’s a community. Everybody is upset about it. I have angina and my knees are a bit dodgy.”

Another resident, Doreen Crossman, who has lived there for 20 years, said the stairlifts are a lifeline adding: “They (Thirteen) are spoiling a nice community.”

Andrew Thorne, whose mother Elsie Thorne, 91, lives in one of the flats, said: “Without the stairlift she would be completely stuck. There’s no way she could get down.

“My mother won’t survive the stress of moving.”

Tom Stewart, chair of Rossmere Residents Group (Section East) said there have never been any accidents with the stairlifts and residents are angry there was no consultation over the decision.

Thirteen say residents will be assessed individually and if they need to move they aim to allow them to stay in Hartlepool.

Priory Court, on the Headland, is also affected.

A spokesperson for Thirteen said: “The welfare of our customers is paramount to us, and so for health and safety reasons it has become necessary to remove stairlifts from our sheltered schemes.

“We have two specific sheltered housing schemes in Hartlepool with no passenger lifts where this has the biggest impact.

“Stairlifts are installed to meet the needs of a specific individual following an occupational therapy assessment, so are not suitable for communal use.

“With that in mind, we have taken the difficult but necessary decision to remove these.

“For their safety and comfort, we are working with a small number of customers to help them relocate from upper level accommodation to ground floor accommodation and we have assured them that no action will be taken to remove the stairlifts until they have moved into their new homes.”