HC Deb 26 February 1964 vol 690 cc73-4W
40. Mr. Cleaver

asked the Postmaster-General what facilities are provided to help the handicapped and disabled to use the telephone.

Mr. Bevins

Special attention is paid to these needs. A number of devices are available to assist the handicapped, of which I am circulating details in the OFFICIAL REPORT. Telephone managers will gladly advise about these facilities and, where necessary, see what special arrangements can be devised in cases of exceptional difficulty.

The details are:

  1. 1. Equipment for the deaf
    1. Amplified receivers in telephone handset. A transistorised amplifier is fitted inside the handle of the modern telephone handset. The volume is controlled by a finger wheel at the side of the earpiece.
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    3. Watch Receiver. This is an additional receiver earpiece. Both ears can thus be used on the call, and extraneous noises are excluded.
    4. Extension Bells. Four different sizes of extra bell are available. The largest has 6-inch gongs and is very powerful.
    5. Lamp Signals. These can be provided by various means to draw attention to an incoming call.
  2. 2. Equipment for customers with throat afflictions
    1. Faint Speech Amplifier. This is a transistorised amplifier housed in a small case. Amplification of outgoing speech is adjusted to meet individual customer's needs.
  3. 3. Equipment for the blind
    1. A special dial with the edge of the finger plate notched against the figures 4 and 7 can be supplied on request for blind persons.
  4. 4. Equipment for the physically handicapped
    1. The Sender No. 1. This allows a customer who cannot use a dial to call the operator by pressing a button on top of a small auxiliary unit. The apparatus then dials the operator automatically.
    2. Loudspeaking Telephones. These use a freestanding microphone and loudspeaker in place of the normal telephone, and, although not designed specifically for the handicapped, are particularly useful for those customers who have difficulty in gripping a handset.
    3. Loudspeaking Telephone 5. This consists of a loudspeaker, microphone designed to fit on a bedhead and special signalling apparatus. It has been developed by the Post Office in conjunction with a research group of the Polio Research Fund at the National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville Hospital, and works in conjunction with their Patient Operated Selector Mechanism (POSM) to allow the almost completely paralysed to make and receive their own telephone calls.