CARE workers - who provide vital support to people with severe learning disabilities overnight - could be replaced with an automated alarm service.

The proposals have been met with angry opposition by the families of these vulnerable residents.

The relatives had a meeting with representatives from care provider Cornerstone and West Dunbartonshire Council’s (WDC) Social Work department last week to vent their frustrations.

In a measure which has been described as “dangerous”, the plan is to remove 15 overnight care workers and replace them with a telecare service.

The automated system can be activated by anyone needing help, and connects directly to a central response unit, and then the carer, or emergency services, if required, can be sent out.

A carer would also visit the house every two hours.

Moira McCaffery, from Bonhill, is worried for the wellbeing of her 61-year-old brother who lives at Moss Cottages, in West Bridgend, along with six others.

She told the Reporter: “All of the families are happy with the service they have got and do not want these machines.

“We do not mind technology, but we still want the sleepovers as well.

“They need to have human contact and the piece of mind that someone is there to help.” Caroline Dickson, whose brother David McIlhone currently receives overnight care at his home in Renton, added: “My brother is a very vulnerable man.

“Davy has only had his house for two years and for them to consider doing away with the support is absolutely terrible.

“I would feel terrified if they installed these alarm boxes because there would be no-one with him to let him know that he wasn’t locked in the house.” The families are being supported by Leven councillor Jim Bollan, who believes that the telecare service would be completely inappropriate for these people.

A joint statement from WDC and Cornerstone said: “Before any trial of the telecare system takes place a full risk assessment involving all interested parties such as service users, families, care staff and the council’s social work department, is undertaken.

“Under no circumstances will the service ‘go live’ unless the social worker, in consultation with the above parties, felt it safe to proceed." Cornerstone claims that the changes would not result in job losses.