Pensioner claims ‘dodgy door system’ is a death trap

Monday, 19 February 2024 19:37

By Martyn Smith, Local Democracy Reporter

Pensioner Maureen Bradley by the window where she had to throw her keys down to paramedics after she called 999. Picture: LDRS/Martyn Smith

A ‘dodgy door entry system’ has turned council flats into a potential death trap according to a disabled resident.

Pensioner Maureen Bradley said she feared for her life after being forced to throw her keys from the window of her flat to paramedics answering her 999 call for a possible heart attack.

The system, at flats in Birbeck Place, Pensnett, was installed about 12 months ago and divorcee Ms Bradley, aged 75, said it had never worked well and engineers have to be called out up to three times per week.

Ms Bradley lives on the top floor of her building and has multiple health problems including arthritis which severely limits her mobility. She also suffers from a heart condition. She said:

“When I had a fracture of the spine the ambulance came, the door wouldn’t release so I had to throw the keys through the window for them to let themselves in.

“A few weeks later when I was at home recovering the cleaner came and the same thing happened so I had to throw the keys out of the window again.”

Ms Bradley has lived in her flat for 17 years and said there was nothing wrong with the old door entry system but problems with the new one could be a matter of life or death.

She said: “It’s scary. The last fracture I had stopped me breathing because it was the top of my spine pressing on my lungs.

“That could have brought on a heart attack and I could have been dead before the ambulance staff got to me.”

Other residents in Ms Bradley’s building have also experienced problems and eventually they contacted Brockmoor and Pensnett councillor Judy Foster. Cllr Foster said:

“The system seems to fail following wet weather so possibly the humidity is making the system dysfunctional. I understand that even the company who fits the system is telling residents it isn’t fit for purpose so why isn’t the council replacing it?”

Councillor Laura Taylor-Childs, Dudley cabinet member for housing and safer communities, said: “We have inspected the block and found that the door entry system is working properly, therefore tenants are safe and can enter and exit the block with their fobs. 

“However we have found there to be issues with the newly installed intercom, this provides tenants with the ability to release the main door from their own property when allowing access to visitors. 

“We are working to make sure that any issues with the intercom are resolved as soon as possible. 

“We also acknowledge that some residents may need assistance with operating the new system too, and we are working closely with all residents to assist with this. 

“We would also like to provide assurance that there are always controls in place for the fire service to access any of the blocks if necessary”

Cllr Foster added: ‘’Whenever the system fails I get a call from frightened and worried residents but when I report it to the council they just send a technician to do a repair that never lasts long. 

“In my view, enough is enough. Replacement has to be the only option now and nothing less will do’’.


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