A DISABLED woman was left cut off without contact to the outside world for five days after her phone went on the blink.

Barbara Radcliffe, 53, of Carr Barn Brow, Clayton Brook, suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and is unable to get out and about because of her condition.

Now she has slammed service provider Telewest, saying: "This is not acceptable in this day and age."

Barbara relies on her sister Susan Bradshaw to make contact on a daily basis to check that she is all right.

Her main concern is that she has not been able to keep in contact with Susan, 54, of Long Acre, Clayton Brook, after their mother suffered a heart attack last week.

She said: " It's been a shambles. To be left without a phone is like locking me up and cutting me off."

Susan agreed: "It has been a nightmare for us. Barbara has been cut off from the rest of the world. People who are mobile do not realise what it is like to be trapped in your own home without being able to make the vital contact they need.

"We were worried in case of an emergency. If she had an accident she wouldn't be able to call anybody, or if our mother took a turn for the worse I wouldn't have been able to tell her immediately."

Mrs Bradshaw said that in this day and age the level of service from such a big company was unacceptable.

She said: "I have been on the phone to Telewest every day since the phone went out of order and have been fobbed off every day by being told that somebody will be out as soon as possible. It is absolutely ridiculous that a disabled woman living on her own has been left without this necessary communication source for so long.

"Companies of this size have the manpower and the expertise to be able to solve problems such as this in a matter of seconds so I am furious that Barbara has had to wait for so long."

A spokesperson for Telewest said somebody would visit the house to solve the problem as soon as possible.

Tony Grace, director of customer operations at Telewest Broadband, said: "Telewest Broadband is committed to providing customers with the best broadband communications experience, whether broadband TV, high-speed internet or telephone. We are disappointed that, on this occasion, we have not met the high standards we set ourselves.

"We apologise to Mrs Radcliffe that she has experienced difficulties with her telephone service."

An engineer visited Barbara's property on Monday, June 10, to fix the problem.