GP surgeries across the country have suffered from phone service problems reporting lines down for hours with some suggesting a national server issue is to blame.
Practices posted on social media to alert patients of the problem on Tuesday morning and advise them to call 111 in case of emergencies.
One of those affected, Herefordshire-based Taurus Healthcare, tweeted: “We are aware of a problem with the phone system at many medical offices this morning. Engineers will rectify the situation as soon as possible. I apologize for any inconvenience caused.”
Another surgery, Sides Medical Center in Swinton, Greater Manchester, wrote: “Please note that the phone provider for several GP surgeries has a problem which means we are unable to answer calls.
“We have reported this and we have been informed that it is being fixed.”
Power outages were also reported in surgeries in Yorkshire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire and the home counties.
In both the Bradford and Leeds areas, GP practices suffered from technical problems with their phone lines.
Sherburn Group Practice, near Leeds, informed its patients Tuesday morning via social media, writing: “We have some technical issues with our phones this morning. Sorry about this if you are trying to reach us.
“We are working to get things back up and running as quickly as possible.
Please bear with us.”
While Bradford District Craven Health & Care Partnership said phone problems at GP practices in Bradford and Craven were making it difficult for patients to call to make appointments, but work was underway to get the system up and running again as soon as possible.
By noon, the association said phone lines in the area had been restored.
Integrated Care Northamptonshire, the body responsible for NHS services in the county, tweeted this morning: “Some GP practices are experiencing problems with their phone lines, which is linked to a national issue. “
A spokesman for the Northamptonshire Integrated Care Board said 13 practices in the area were affected.
“Engineers have been working to resolve the issue today and we can confirm that all lines are now working again,” they added.
Frimley Health and Care, an association of health and care organizations in parts of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Surrey, said some GP surgery phone systems in the area were temporarily down.
And in Hertfordshire, The Lodge Health Partnership in St Albans reported on Tuesday that it was “experiencing IT issues affecting our phone lines” in the morning and asked patients to contact surgery online.
Yo understands that the NHS is continuing to investigate the issue.
It comes as doctors warned of a “steamy winter” for patients and surgeries as GP shortage, increased demand for appointments, winter pressures and vaccination programs combine push general practice to the limit.