Consultation period: 10 October 2011 to 4 January 2012.
Orkney Islands Council is consulting on the possibility of charging for telecare.
It follows a decision by Orkney Islands Council to consult widely on the proposal – to help Elected Members make an informed decision on whether to bring in a charge for the service.
The community care alarm service operated free of charge in Orkney on a modest scale for many years.
For the past four years the Scottish Government provided extra funding which enabled the telecare and community alarm service to grow considerably, while still being provided without charge.
But this funding has stopped and the Council needs to find an alternative way to pay for the service in future.
Telecare charging, if introduced, could involve a weekly charge of £3.40 - or a charge based on ability to pay - among a number of potential options.
Councillor Roderick McLeod, chair of OIC’s Social Services and Housing Committee, said: “During the Tough Times–Tough Choices engagement with people across the county, we raised the possibility of bringing in new charges for a variety of services – including telecare - to help offset a reduction in our funding from Government.
“Telecare helps people to live safely and as independently as possible in their own homes.
“We need to find a way to maintain this vital service and, in the present financial situation, that may involve charging for telecare.
“This is an important decision for us as Councillors and I would encourage people with an interest in the service to take part in this consultation.”
Telecare involves the use of a variety of devices - including community care alarms – that are usually linked to a 24-hour monitoring centre. These can help raise the alarm in the event of an incident such as a fall.
Letters about the consultation will start to go out today to users of telecare in Orkney.
Family members, friends and neighbours who respond as key holders if an alarm is triggered will also be invited to take part.
Consultation letters will also be sent to legally appointed guardians, to those with powers of attorney for service users, and to other stakeholders including voluntary sector organisations.
To take part in the consultation complete the online survey. (This option is no longer available as the consultation has closed. The survey form is available for reference only, from the Related Downloads section on this page).
The consultation will run until 4 January 2012 with the results reported to a future meeting of the Social Services and Housing Committee.