£1.7m confirmed for Rothercare – but customers warned of price rise

ROTHERCARE customers have been warned to expect a price rise as the emergency alarms switch to a digital system.

Rotherham Council’s cabinet confirmed a £1.7 million investment in the changeover, which must meet the national deadline of the traditional landline network being turned off at the end of 2025.

The emergency alarms include body-worn buttons to call for help, allowing people to live independently.

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There are 4,279 Rothercare boxes which need to be swapped for the new Sim card versions – nearly three-quarters of the total alarms currently used across the borough.

RMBC’s investment will mean no cost to customers for the new kit or installation – but the current weekly cost will not be enough to keep the service going.

There will be an annual £381,000 financial pressure which RMBC needs to cover by raising prices or finding cuts elsewhere.

Cllr David Roche, cabinet member for adult social care and health, noted that 84 per cent of respondents to the three-month consultation agreed that the alarms provided value for money and peace of mind.

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He said: “There is no doubt at all that Rothercare is an effective and successful service.”

But he added that the charges in Rotherham of £3.29 a week were the lowest in the region – comparing them to Leeds where the cost is over £8.

A report on the cost changes for customers will come later in 2024, Cllr Roche told Monday’s (22) cabinet meeting.

Almost 7,000 residents in 5,646 properties use Rothercare, which deals with about 27,000 calls a month.