Phone jams Goornong man's life-saver

AN ELDERLY Goornong man who suffered a heart attack last year has been told he can’t have a personal alert service installed because he only has a phone that receives incoming calls. 

Pensioner Laurie Tuddenham was assessed for an alert system supplied by Mt Eliza Personal Assistance Call Service (MEPACS), which alerts a nominated relative, friend, neighbour or a response service when activated.

But the 85-year-old was told the unit could not be set up unless he installed a standard phone line at a cost of $400 a year.

“At the moment I can get calls in but I can’t ring out,” he said. 

“Telstra said if I buy a mobile phone they’ll take the (incoming) phone off me (so) I can’t win.

“I don’t want to pay $400 and not use it. I can’t afford it.”

Mr Tuddenham gets around his rural property on a mobilised scooter and said he desperately needs the personal alert service.

“It’s something I really do need,” he said.

“If it wasn’t for the scooter I wouldn’t get around at all, but if I fell off it I wouldn’t be able to alert anyone.”

City of Greater Bendigo Council’s aged and disability services manager Rod Flavell yesterday afternoon contacted Mr Tuddenham to work on a solution to the problem.

He said the council only referred residents to MEPACS and did not have direct control over the service. “We have contacted Mr Tuddenham and also have contacted MEPACS,” Mr Flavell said.

“MEPACS have advised that Mr Tuddenham is ineligible for the service as his home phone is not a “dial out” phone and there are apparently issues with the phone provider.

“We will follow up with Mr Tuddenham and his daughter to ensure that the family understands what the problems are.”

A Personal Alert Victoria was contacted for comment but did not reply.

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