Help for medical alarm owners

A REGISTER to help people migrate medical alarm device services to the National Broadband Network was launched by Federal Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull at Kiama Library last Friday.

NBN Co has established a medical alarm register to help Kiama residents ahead of the copper disconnection.

By identifying those who have personal medical alerts and alarms, NBN Co aims to ensure individuals, including the elderly, receive assistance when these services are moved over to the NBN.

The register has been introduced ahead of the disconnection of copper phone lines on May 23 to about 2300 homes and businesses.

NBN Co chief communications officer John Simon was also at the launch.

"Ahead of the first areas of Kiama disconnecting, we encourage anyone currently using a medical alarm, or any of their friends and family, to register on the NBN Co Medical Alarm Register," Mr Simon said.

"They should also contact their phone or internet company along with their alarm provider today to ensure they're prepared come disconnection time."

Mr Turnbull said it was important for everybody with a medical alarm or alert to register.

"As the NBN rolls out, we want to be certain that all medical alarms and alerts can work on the new system," he said.

"They all can, it's perfectly feasible for them to do so."

When asked whether the presence of people with a disability living alone meant a greater onus on providers to contact those clients, he agreed.

"We're certainly encouraging the industry to do that," he said.

"But also, if it's your friend, mother, daughter, grandmother, grandfather - if you know somebody with a medical alarm, then make sure it is registered."

The minister was also asked whether such a register should have already existed.

"It's a very good point that it should have been done before," he said.

"The problem is, there are all sorts of devices that are sold, and some of them don't even require a service provider."

Kiama's Merryn Joske, 56, is visually impaired and uses a medical alert.

She has no vision in one eye, minimal vision in the other, and is prone to falls.

She said registering only took a few minutes.

"It's an important thing to know when you're connected… I feel reassured," she said.

Individuals using a medical alarm or alert , or their carers, can list their device by phoning 1800 227 300 or visiting nbnco.com.au/medicalregister to complete a form.

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