VULNERABLE RESIDENTS ARE BEING PUT AT RISK
Why is it that residents of the East End always seem to get sub standard service for their elderly and vulnerable residents?
Some vulnerable and elderly people in Tower Hamlets are totally reliant on the provision and use of the Key Safe Scheme, whereby, the service which provides the new emergency alarm service for these residents, can also install a Key Safe outside the home of those vulnerable residents, who usually live alone, which enables their own response service and the emergency services access to the residence should something happen.
The problem with this service seems to be that it takes an unbelievable amount of time to get one key safe installed. You would think that this service would be considered a top priority, but not in Tower Hamlets.
Let me give you one example:
In August, a patient was rushed to hospital when a vein burst.
In November, this patient was admitted to hospital after being rushed in by ambulance with a burst stomach ulcer. He was in for one week, and returned home. The patient also suffers from many conditions, lives alone, and is a high medical and accident risk.
In January this resident was admitted to hospital for a pre-planned operation. It was obvious that this resident would be extremely vulnerable on release from hospital.
Just before his admission, the service providing emergency response, i.e. responding when emergency alarms are pulled or activated, was changed, making the alarm pulls in the bathroom, bedroom, and living room redundant, and replacing them with an emergency button in the living room (on the new control box) and a necklace alarm (which can also be used as a watch but is easily forgotten to wear).
Earlier in January when the new alarm installation was put in, the service was informed about the resident’s forthcoming surgery and expected vulnerable condition on return from hospital. They then assured the resident that if he left a key with them, they will arrange a key safe to be installed for his return. So he left a key with them.
The resident returned from hospital, and as expected was in a high risk condition. Confirmation of this was that the following morning he received a call from the alarm service to check that he was home and all right. He pointed out that he was told that that there would be a key safe installed, but there was no sign of it. He was assured that it would be installed soon. So he waited.
Time passed, and there was still no sign of the key safe in March. On calling them (by triggering the alarm) he was informed that it took three months to install a key safe, so his was due to be installed in April.
April came and went. Then May. On the 28th June, he called them, by triggering the alarm, to see what the situation was. He was told that it was in a queue, and that there were still others in front of him waiting for key safes! (There must be a really high demand for this service!) He asked for the Manager’s name and telephone number, and was told that the Manager concerned was Samera Hussain, but she is unavailable until Thursday (this was on Tuesday) and they could not give out her mobile number. If he should trigger the alarm as he had today, and ask for her, she will be there. On being asked if they didn’t think that this delay in the key safes installation was not placing residents at risk, they replied that no, they did not, as if the alarm was triggered, they could grab the key, which is in their office, and leave the office within 2 minutes.
They seemed to have no concept of true urgency.
If a resident manages to trigger their alarm, it takes around a full minute at least for the system to reach their office, and for them to answer. They then take down the details of the call, and leave their office. Now, as they don’t have sirens and flashing lights, they will have to fight their way through some of the busiest traffic in London, so, for example, if they were based in Poplar, it would take them something like half an hour to reach someone in Shoreditch, and probably longer in rush hours.
In all of this time the resident is still sufferring with whatever it was they had. On pointing this out, they said that if a situation was so serious, they would call an ambulance, who would have to call the fire brigade or the police to break down the high-security doors to get into the flat.
All of this PLACES THE RESIDENT AT RISK!
The very idea of the key safe is to prevent this farce from happening in the first place.
With the keysafe in place, if necessary the emergency services can gain access immediately (or they should be able to), or if it is a more minor problem, the alarm centre can call a nearby contact who could respond quickly.
I must now ask if this installation service is actually fit for service.
- Is the provision of this installation service efficient? No
- Is the response service before installation sufficient? No
- Are residents being placed at unnecessary risk? Yes.
Is it fit for service? No.