Vulnerable elderly residents left without heating and hot water for six days

Benjamin Court. Photo: Colin Finch

Benjamin Court. Photo: Colin Finch - Credit: Colin Finch

A group of vulnerable people were left without hot water and heating for six days after a boiler broke in their care unit.

Benjamin Court in Cromer. Picture: Ally McGilvray

Benjamin Court in Cromer. Picture: Ally McGilvray - Credit: Archant

Residents living on the Benjamin Court site in Cromer had been unable to wash with warm water, or put heating on, since Sunday November 4.

Operated by Broadland Housing Association (BHA), and separate to the NHS hospital, the homes are occupied by residents with a range of care needs.

Steve Stone's 90-year-old mother, who is currently ill with a severe chest infection, had been confined to her bed to keep warm and, despite being provided with a fan heater, her flat remained cold.

Mr Stone, of Mundesley, said: 'This has implications for the hygiene of both those residents and the staff. It really is intolerable that this has gone on for this long and you would think that there would be some means of prioritising vulnerable customers - especially where you have such a large group of vulnerable people in one place.'

It was claimed that carers were unable to carry out care plans, including washing and showering their patients, and some residents risked seriously harming themselves by carrying boiling water in kettles to wash in sinks.

The problem arose after a power surge knocked out three of the four boilers, a spokesman from BHA explained.

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They said: 'Our specialist heating contractor visited site on Monday and ascertained that parts were needed to fix the boilers, so these were ordered. The parts were due to arrive on Wednesday, but were delayed. In the meantime, the immersion heaters were switched on for hot water.

'All of our Housing with Care schemes have temporary heaters available for residents to use should the heating system fail.

'As part of Broadland's compensation policy, any resident that is without hot water or heating can claim a daily allowance. This would cover any additional energy usage.

'We apologise to our residents and their families for the delay in rectifying the issue, unfortunately we were unable to get the parts any sooner that were required to fix the boilers. We realise that this must have been very distressing.'

BHA arranged for heaters to be sent as well as an engineer to check the hot water.

Heating was returned by the afternoon of Saturday November 10.

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