Triple heart attack pensioner’s warning from Glasgow City Council: Pay up or we’ll cut off your panic alarm
A FRAIL pensioner has been left fearing for her life because she can’t afford to pay new panic alarm charges.
Agnes Reilly has suffered three heart attacks in the past three years and only survived thanks to the emergency service.
But the 82-year-old says she may be forced to give up the vital alarm after being hit with a cash demand from Glasgow City Council.
Social work bosses are introducing a £3 per week charge from this month, and will cut off the service to elderly and vulnerable people who don’t pay.
The move comes just months after a former director was given a £600,000 golden handshake.
Social work boss David Crawford walked away from Glasgow City Council with the bumper package when he retired in December.
By then, his department had hit around 12,500 OAPs and disabled people with the £3 weekly charge for their panic alarms.
This sparked a furious reaction and 1650 people cancelled the service over the fees.
Agnes said: “I’ve had the buzzer for three years and I’ve used it for help three times in emergencies.
“The paramedics are always here within minutes. It has saved my life. I only get a basic pension and don’t have a lot of money to live on. It makes me really angry.”
Agnes can call for emergency assistance by pressing a button next to the phone – or on a chain that hangs round her neck.
The pensioner’s details are kept on record for a speedy response, which proved crucial when she suffered a third cardiac arrest just before Christmas last year.
Daughter Carol, 51, said: “My mum has used the alarm three times in emergencies and the last time was really serious. It was life or death.
“She fell in the bathroom. Her face was going blue and I put her in the recovery position until the paramedics arrived.
“I can’t believe the council are going to charge elderly people who depend on these panic alarms. It’s a lifeline for many pensioners.”
Carol lives with her mum in Pollok, Glasgow, and is her carer.
She was furious when the council first demanded money last year, and refused to pay for the service.
Carol said: “I told them we would not be paying a penny, and that I would fight this all the way.
“It’s unfair and a form of bullying to ask pensioners to pay up or hand over their panic alarms. I look after my mum but I can’t be here 24/7.”
Her mother received a follow-up letter from the council two weeks ago stating that the alarm system would be disconnected.
It reads: “You have contacted social work services to advise that you no longer wish/require the alarm and telecare service, now that a charge has been introduced.
“Therefore I am writing to confirm that your service will be discontinued from August 26, 2013.”
A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “Financial assistance may be available to those who feel they will struggle to pay for the alarm service.”
By Mark McLean in the Daily Record, 16th August 2013: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/triple-heart-attack-pensioners-warning-2171990