WHEN Paul Bayliss-Marten moved into a warden-controlled flat he felt reassured to know a member of staff would be on hand if he needed help.
Under the terms of his tenancy – and that of those in the other 69 flats in The Lodge, Lavender Road, Waterlooville – a warden was available from 9am to 9pm.
But that has been suddenly taken away by housing association Guinness Care and Support leaving Mr Bayliss-Marten, 61, with an alarm cord to pull if he gets into trouble.
Guinness announced last month that from April the daytime warden would be replaced by a mobile team during the day which responds when the alarm cord is pulled.
A night-time service, which runs from 9pm to 9am, will still be run by Invicta Telecare, based in Kent, as it was under the old system.
Residents are angry about the changes. They say it will be a burden on the taxpayer because staff manning the helpline call paramedics to help elderly residents who have fallen – even if it is not a medical emergency.
Mr Bayliss-Marten said: ‘This effectively removes the extra care that all tenants enjoy at the present time.
‘There are residents who live here who suffer from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other debilitating illnesses that keep our support staff constantly busy throughout the day. It has been forgotten that residents will use the emergency cord on a daily basis.
‘The monitors are obliged to call for assistance.
‘The cost of emergency vehicles and crews will put huge extra costs to the public.’
A warden service was also axed at Guinness-run Sydenham Court, Buckland, last year.
Chris Perry, director of Age Concern Hampshire, said such changes are on the increase.
He added: ‘Many people take tenancies out on the understanding there is going to be a resident warden.
‘I can understand their concerns but equally from the point of view of the housing association I can understand they can’t have someone on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.’
In a statement, Guinness said the changes were due to a strategic review of Older People’s Services by Hampshire County Council in 2009 and an attempt to make services more flexible.
They confirmed staff are not allowed to lift residents who fall and must call paramedics. They said residents were consulted through a scheme review meeting and follow-up letters.
The statement added: ‘While we no longer have a 24/7 manager at The Lodge, we do provide a 24/7 out-of-hours emergency response for our residents for both repairs and support.’