Demand for answers over 'rash' decision to remove all stairlifts from sheltered accommodation

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has written to a housing boss over a controversial decision to remove all stairlifts from two town sheltered accommodation schemes.

Friday, 3rd January 2020, 11:45 am
Ardrossan Court residents association chair Tom Stewart and resident Doris Reddington are angry over stairlift removal plans

Mr Hill has penned a letter to the chief executive of Thirteen seeking an explanation after the Mail reported that the housing company is to take out electronic chair lifts used by elderly and disabled residents at Ardrossan Court and Priory Court in the town.

Thirteen says it is for health and safety reasons and because the stairlifts are not intended for communal use.

But residents at Ardrossan Court who rely on them to access their flats are angry and say they will be forced to move home as a result.

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Ardrossan Court residents are angry over the decision by Thirteen to remove all the stairlifts for health and safety reasons.

In the letter to Ian Wardle, Mr Hill says: “Many of these residents have lived there for many years, some for decades, without having any issues with the use of these stairlifts.

“If this decision comes off the back of a health and safety report, why were the stairlifts there in the first place if they were unsafe?”

He asks whether anything can be done to keep the stairlifts or any alternatives put in place so residents can keep their independence.

Mr Hill added: “This decision seems to be a rash choice on the face of it, however, we must give Thirteen Group the opportunity to explain themselves properly.

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill. Picture by FRANK REID

“However, the residents need clarity and security as quick as possible. They do not need this stress and worry.

“I’ve asked Thirteen Group to clarify why they’ve taken this action and asked for them to outline any other options that they may be able to take to ensure the independence and mobility of residents without forcing them to move.”

A spokesperson for Thirteen previously said the welfare of residents is paramount adding: “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.”

It said it is working with a small number of residents to relocate them and the stairlifts will not be removed until then.