AN emergency care service providing alarms for vulnerable residents will be scrapped in two months.

The Echo told in February that Careline, run by Basildon Council, was being axed due to funding cuts.

Sixteen members of staff face redundancy.

When the plans were first announced, the alarm monitoring service was used by almost 3,000 people living in sheltered accommodation and private house across Basildon. It was also used by 1,300 people from outside of the borough.

At the time, the council promised it would not go until a third party able to provide a similar service could be arranged.

A Basildon Council spokesman said: “Careline is due to close at the end of September, however the council is committed to ensuring that all its customers have the necessary support in place and has been proactive in assisting customers move to a new provider of their choice.

The majority of customers now have a new provider in place and the remaining customers will continue to be supported during the transition stage to ensure every customer has an alternative provider in place before the service closes. The majority of customers have moved to either the Southend, Braintree or Tendring Careline Service.

“There are 16 members of staff at risk of redundancy and the Council are supporting these officers to find alternative employment as appropriate.”

Basildon Council launched a consultation into plans to axe the service after Essex County Council cut funding. It meant its future was no longer sustainable - unless residents were asked to pay an extra £4.85 each a week.

At time, the Tories were in charge. They have since been ousted from power after Labour, Ukip and independent councillors joined forced to scrap the former cabinet system in favour of a committee system.

The new administration has vowed to make more support available for the elderly - with hints that Careline may make a return in the near future.

Independent councillor Kerry Smith, who is now chairman of the housing and community committee, “The service lost £145,000 from Essex County Council and they are trying to push the responsibility onto Basildon Council.

“It has left a big hole in our services and I will be looking into it to make sure that everybody in this council gets a good service.

“I don’t really want to make promises yet. Over the summer months, I will be speaking with officials because we have an ageing population in the borough and they are the most vulnerable people.

“Having access to emergency services is essential.”

Vice chairman of the committee, Labour’s Andrew Gordon, added: “My granddad used the service and I am sad to see that it is going.”