Saturday 20 April 2019

'Serious concerns' over changes to the Senior Alert Scheme

Cork NW deputy Michael Moynihan has rowed in with concerns about proposed changes to the Seniors Alert Scheme, which will see a national tendering process for the supply and installation of personal monitored alarms as well as a range of other measures centred on the operation of the scheme.

The Senior Alert Scheme provides assurance, confidence and independence to thousands of older people who want to continue living in their own homes, through a personalised alarm system. However, Community Alert groups now fear that the new tendering process will actually mean an increase in the cost of the alarm systems.

This stems from the fact that, currently, alarm systems here cost well under 100 each, whereas internationally they cost significantly more.

"I have serious reservations about the centralisation of this important scheme, which will essentially see the monitoring and rollout of this resource taken out of the hands of community groups and handed over to an outside company," said Deputy Moynihan. "This would mark a significant departure from the existing programme, which allows community groups to support the needs of their elderly relatives, friends and neighbours through regular contact and visits.

"These are some of the most vulnerable people in our society, who have faith and confidence in a system which has served them well.

"The changes that are proposed, including a new online application system and a centralised financial management service, has unnerved and unsettled many of the SAS users and their families. Despite attempts by the Dept of the Environment to clarify the situation there are a series of questions that remain unanswered.

He said here has been a lack of consultation to date and urged Minister Kelly to rectify this situation before proceeding with any measures which could prove detrimental the success of scheme".