LETTER: Better phone services needed for the impaired

MY elderly friend is hearing-impaired and medically blind.

Her medical health has not been good for some time and any 'help' - ambulance and friends need to be contacted by telephone.

She normally uses a loudspeaker landline phone (cordless).

She is living alone, unable to drive. The only outside communication is via phone.

On October 14 she told me her phone wasn't working and she needed it in case of emergency.

I told her I would ring the Telstra helpline the next morning.

I rang at 7am and I expressed my concerns for my friend. I said I would be at the residence in 30 minutes to receive a Telstra call to verify the address and phone numbers.

The Telstra person told me nothing could be done until two days after the complaint had been lodged.

I stressed our concerns further and was told a replacement phone could be accessed via Telstra or another party, though she would have to pay for it and be reimbursed later.

A new phone was purchased but it was no better than the original phone.

Two days later, a neighbour told her she would ring Telstra to sort out the problem.

A Telstra worker arrived at the house and found a connection fault in the line outside and fixed it within an hour of the call. The phones then worked fine.

The Telstra technician left her with a direct mobile number in case she had further problems.

This is the treatment she should have received in the first instance, and it was provided by the local technician.

People answering faults calls should be aware of potential line problems and should say so.

I feel that if the second call had not been made to Telstra the fault may never have been resolved.

The second technician could well have saved a life. Thank you.

- JOHN HITSON, Calliope



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