Page last updated at 14:35 GMT, Monday, 8 October 2007 15:35 UK

Panel monitors digital switchover

Digital countdown clock in Whitehaven
A billboard with a digital countdown has been erected in the town

A panel is to scrutinise the support elderly and vulnerable people receive during the digital switchover.

Whitehaven in Cumbria will be the first UK town to lose the analogue signal, starting with BBC 2 on 17 October.

The council has set up a panel to look at the schemes available to assist those who are elderly, disabled, blind or partially sighted.

Trading standards officers will also ensure firms offering aerial upgrades and digiboxes are not exploiting them.

Cumbria Care has already converted five residential homes, and three day centres to digital.

Whitehaven is the first place in the country to switch over and it's important to make sure this has been handled well
Dave Clarke, chair of the adult social care scrutiny panel

This involved pre-tuning the digiboxes to the five main channels to enable residents to flick through the channels on the same televisions they have always used.

Councillor Dave Clarke, chair of Cumbria County Council's adult social care scrutiny panel, said: "Switching to digital can be a daunting prospect if you're an older person.

"I know that in some of our care homes just putting a digibox on top of each TV simply would not work. Some residents have Alzheimers, others are bewildered by the range of buttons and choice offered on a digibox.

"Whitehaven is the first place in the country to switch over and it's important to make sure this has been handled well."

SEE ALSO
Support for digital switch town
20 Aug 07 |  Cumbria
6,000 unprepared for digital TV
11 Jul 07 |  Cumbria

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