Water army on the march

Charity workers have been distributing bottled water to carers deemed most in need of it in the resort.'Carers Trust Fylde Coast

Charity workers have been distributing bottled water to carers deemed most in need of it in the resort.'Carers Trust Fylde Coast

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Charity workers have been distributing bottled water to carers deemed most in need of it in the resort.

Carers Trust Fylde Coast received a pallet of bottled water from United Utilities this week after raising concerns that some vulnerable carers could be slipping through the net.

It comes as UU said customers must continue to boil tap water until at least today as traces of cryptosporidium were reducing in the 2,500 miles of pipework in the affected area.

Specialist support workers, particularly those dealing with elderly or socially isolated carers, made a round of calls to check they were aware of the need to boil water before drinking it, or using it for food preparation or dish washing.

Among carers to have missed the warnings on TV, radio, in the press and social media, was a 94-year-old woman who lives alone and regularly has a glass of water with her medication.

The health risk may be low from the contaminated water but rises for those with underlying health conditions or suppressed-immune systems.

A spokesman for the charity said: “Most of our registered carers – and we mean unpaid carers who look after loved ones - will have been aware of the warnings. They will have heard it on the news, TV, radio, local press or via social media and internet.

“But we feared some might have slipped through the safety net.

“Those concerns proved founded when we contacted those we considered at greatest risk. Some had missed the warnings. The 94-year-old lady was among several who didn’t know.

“It also concerned us that some carers wouldn’t be able to access bottled water easily.

“They may not drive, or have friends or relatives or neighbours who can get it for them. It’s heavy to carry.

“Water was also selling out rapidly in the early days of the alert.

“It’s not the ideal scenario for some carers, and certainly not when they have the responsibility of caring for a loved one. It is also added expense. There’s also a safety risk associated with having to repeatedly boil and cool water for the most routine tasks – including for drinking water with meds, their own or their cared-for.”

Specialist support staff have been distributing water to carers during one-to-one or group sessions and have also made special trips out to those in greatest need.

A spokesman for United Utilities said: “We cannot take any risks with public health and, in consultation with the other organisations, we will agree when we can lift the advice to boil your water. We will be compensating all homes and businesses who have been affected.”