THE wife of a Taunton man who suffered from terminal cancer said she feels 'let down' by Deane Helpline after they didn't come to his aid when he fell at home.

Rachael Phillips and her husband,Tony, signed up to Deane Helpline in 2018 after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and paid £25.39 a month for the responders from the 24/7 emergency alarm service to help her.

In September 2018 she claims when she called them for help after her husband fell at home the service told her there was only one responder on call and they could not come and help her.

She said: "We thought this facility would help me in the event of my husband falling.

"I am afraid Deane Helpline did not provide the service it trumpeted.

"My husband fell, I rang for help only to be told that there was only responder to cover a large area and he was attending someone in Wellington so was unable to help.

"The best they could do was call an ambulance."

Rachael claims she called her daughter for help as her husband had been on the floor for two hours and no one had come to help.

She claims an ambulance arrived after her daughter came to help her and her husband was taken to hospital but he sadly died a week later.

She said: "I lay no blame on them (the ambulance service) as they were on another call but I had been paying £25.39 a month for a service that is not to be relied upon when you need it.

"If they say they are going to provide a service then they should do so.

"I feel as if I paid in good faith and the good faith in the form of a service was not returned."

Rachael said she thinks Deane Helpline needs to look into the advertising of service and said she feels 'let down' by the service.

A spokesman for Taunton Deane Borough Council, said: “Deane Helpline is a non-profit making department of Taunton Deane Borough Council that exists to serve our customers in their time of need.

"All charges made to customers are to cover the costs of running the service only.

"We have to strike the balance of giving customers the best service we can, while also ensuring it is affordable for all those that require the service.

"The current level that the charge is set at only allows for one Emergency Response Team officer to be working at any one time.

"On occasion demand for the service outstretches our resource and during these times we have to rely upon our paramedic colleagues to assist.

Deane Helpline prefers customers to have their own key safes to ensure that our ERT or paramedics are able to gain access as quickly possible to a customer’s property.

"Of course not all customers wish to have a key safe on their home and therefore prefer us to hold a key on their behalf.

"We apologise if on this occasion the service did not meet our usual high standard.

"As a gesture of good will TDBC has offered the free supply and installation of a key safe and to waive one month’s charge for the service.”