Unauthorised companies are offering red button services of questionable quality to the elderly the House human rights committee heard on Monday.

It is not known who these companies are, what training their staff has undergone and what procedures they have adopted, the head of the ambulance service Riana Constantinou told MPs, noting that the charge for this service amounts to €200-€300 per year.

Red button services are a system wherein the elderly or people with mobility issues can call for help with the push of a button in the case of an emergency.

The ministry of labour collected expressions of interest from businesses to determine how and in which ways such a system can be adopted, senior official Andreas Zachariades said, adding that procedures for the introduction of the most appropriate system are expected to end in July.

As the process ended last Friday, the ministry intends to seek tenders between June and September, Disy’s Xenia Constantinou said.

With regards to doubts about the quality of red button services offered by unauthorised companies, she said that “the costs and levels of safety, health, and accessibility to these emergency services must be checked against what has been offered and what is expected”.

Finally, the House has requested that the labour ministry provide a list of all services provided so that they may be evaluated, Constantinou said.

The red button project was approved by the cabinet on December 18, 2019 but has not been implemented to date.

The project would provide a paging service through a button worn on a bracelet by the elderly, those with disabilities and chronic illnesses.

In case of emergency, people would be able to contact a coordination centre, available 24/7 and staffed by social workers, psychologists and trained volunteers.