Elderly Newbury Park residents left without ‘lifelines’ for days after phone fault

Two elderly Newbury Park residents were left without their “lifeline” pendants for four days after a phone fault.

Elsie Kent, 98, and Arthur Linnett, 95, live in Glebelands Avenue and rely on the personal alarms in case of emergency.

Mr Linnett has Alzheimer’s disease and Mrs Kent suffers from heart problems.

When the phone was found not to be working on Sunday July 15, BT were called but told concerned relatives the line was in order after a check.

The fault, which was with the lifeline equipment, was not fixed until the following Tuesday.

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Stephen Petley, Mrs Kent’s grandson, said his relatives rely on the pendants.

They have used them after falls and to call for help when men posing as water board workers attempted to enter their home.

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He said: “People could die in that amount of time.

“My nan and uncle were getting quite distressed and people got worried when they couldn’t get hold of them.

“Luckily care people come in but no one could get in touch with them and I was getting calls from all sorts of people.”

Mr Petley, of Wickford, said he had registered the household as “vulnerable” with BT six months ago to give them priority status in case of an emergency.

But the line operator treated the case in the standard amount of time, despite repeated calls, saying they were not on the list.

A BT spokesman said: “Something went wrong in the house with their own equipment.

“It wasn’t a problem with our line so when we were testing it was coming back fine.

“We try to get to customers as soon as we possibly can but in this instance it wasn’t a problem with out network.

“We will resolve the issue of their vulnerability so we can help them going forward.”

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