Phone company blunder leaves Sussex doctors out of touch

The Argus: Signal failure: O2 customers are complaining about problems in the Royal Sussex County Hospital Signal failure: O2 customers are complaining about problems in the Royal Sussex County Hospital

 Doctors are unable to receive messages asking them to report to the operating theatre because O2 have failed to replace masts they removed from Sussex Royal County Hospital.

Thousands of customers have been without service in the Kemp Town area since late March, after the signal transmitters were removed to make way for the hospital helipad.

The NHS trust gave O2 18 months notice in April 2012, allowing the company to find an alternative location for the mast, but it’s something that they are still searching for.

Dr Kaul, Senior Surgical Registrar at Sussex Royal County Hospital, said doctors using the hospital’s switchboard to contact on-call doctors aren’t able to reach O2 customers, leading, in some cases, to consultants failing to report to duty.

He said: “It’s useless – it’s like working in the Third World.

“In fact, it’s worse than that – in India you can make calls, at the hospital you get nothing.

“We can’t text, we can’t get through to our consultants and O2 are just hiding behind their website.

“It’s a nightmare – we can’t contact doctors, we can’t get hold of consultants and it’s having an effect on the patients.

“It’s very frustrating and it makes working very difficult – in something as important as health care, this sort of thing shouldn’t happen.”

Local city councillor Gill Mitchell, who works at the hospital and lives in Kemp Town and is herself an O2 user, said: “For O2 to have removed their mast in the full knowledge that there was no replacement and therefore no phone service to their customers is an utter disgrace.

“If there is one place where a phone is needed, it’s at a hospital.

“I am calling on O2 to work with the hospital trust and restore its service to local residents, patients, visitors and staff as a matter of urgency.”

A Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals spokesperson said O2 had not informed them of the problems they were having in finding a replacement site and the loss of coverage has come as a surprise to everyone at the hospital. O2 have failed to name a date when normal services will resume in the area, infuriating residents and hospital staff.

A spokesperson from O2 said: “We’ve optimised nearby masts to help reduce any impact for customers using their mobile phone.

“These incidents are rare and we are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause while we work to find a solution as quickly as possible.”

The hospital was forced to purchase phones and beepers from other service providers in order to combat the communication problems.

Comments (18)

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3:16pm Thu 11 Apr 13

Crystal Ball says...

Might I suggest two yoghurt pots and a long piece of string?
Might I suggest two yoghurt pots and a long piece of string? Crystal Ball

3:33pm Thu 11 Apr 13

bluemonday says...

so we are not allowed to use mobile phones in hospitals because it affects equipment,but there a must for doctors.have'nt they heard of landlines,
so we are not allowed to use mobile phones in hospitals because it affects equipment,but there a must for doctors.have'nt they heard of landlines, bluemonday

4:43pm Thu 11 Apr 13

yawnnn says...

this isnt new news o2 arent paying out commisions to a high street chain that connects o2 because of finance problems! no wonder they try to fleece us with 24 month contracts,so when they do go wobbly they can sell it on with 2 million cheesed off companies!! steer well clear of contracts in this country,there unregulated and a total rip off,not to mention poor customer service and price increases mid contract!! stick to pay as you go!!
this isnt new news o2 arent paying out commisions to a high street chain that connects o2 because of finance problems! no wonder they try to fleece us with 24 month contracts,so when they do go wobbly they can sell it on with 2 million cheesed off companies!! steer well clear of contracts in this country,there unregulated and a total rip off,not to mention poor customer service and price increases mid contract!! stick to pay as you go!! yawnnn

4:44pm Thu 11 Apr 13

yawnnn says...

this isnt new news o2 arent paying out commisions to a high street chain that connects o2 because of finance problems! no wonder they try to fleece us with 24 month contracts,so when they do go wobbly they can sell it on with 2 million cheesed off customers!! steer well clear of contracts in this country,there unregulated and a total rip off,not to mention poor customer service and price increases mid contract!! stick to pay as you go!!
this isnt new news o2 arent paying out commisions to a high street chain that connects o2 because of finance problems! no wonder they try to fleece us with 24 month contracts,so when they do go wobbly they can sell it on with 2 million cheesed off customers!! steer well clear of contracts in this country,there unregulated and a total rip off,not to mention poor customer service and price increases mid contract!! stick to pay as you go!! yawnnn

5:45pm Thu 11 Apr 13

Numi says...

My son has been affected by this and when he told O2 he wanted to cancel his contract because he needed mobile service (he doesn't have a landline) they said they would charge him £714 for cancelling a contract on an unuseable service!
My son has been affected by this and when he told O2 he wanted to cancel his contract because he needed mobile service (he doesn't have a landline) they said they would charge him £714 for cancelling a contract on an unuseable service! Numi

6:08pm Thu 11 Apr 13

Bristol VR says...

The o2 service in central Brighton and in particular the 3g data service is absolutely dismal and has been since the removal of these masts. The phone signal regularly disappears altogether and it is almost impossible to use the 3g service to access data during the day. This so called "optimisation" of their existing masts has had a detrimental to the overall service which can be accessed and until o2 sort the mess out it will not change. I for one will be changing supplier when my contract expires because I am fed up with the o2 service not being available when others around me can make calls and use data on other networks. I have been an o2 customer from the days it was known as BT Cellnet but they are about to lose me because of this shoddy service.
The o2 service in central Brighton and in particular the 3g data service is absolutely dismal and has been since the removal of these masts. The phone signal regularly disappears altogether and it is almost impossible to use the 3g service to access data during the day. This so called "optimisation" of their existing masts has had a detrimental to the overall service which can be accessed and until o2 sort the mess out it will not change. I for one will be changing supplier when my contract expires because I am fed up with the o2 service not being available when others around me can make calls and use data on other networks. I have been an o2 customer from the days it was known as BT Cellnet but they are about to lose me because of this shoddy service. Bristol VR

7:10pm Thu 11 Apr 13

richardsim7 says...

Not to mention businesses down at the Marina being affected. It's ridiculous!
Not to mention businesses down at the Marina being affected. It's ridiculous! richardsim7

8:23pm Thu 11 Apr 13

yawnnn says...

the best phone,is a urine infested payphone!!!!
the best phone,is a urine infested payphone!!!! yawnnn

8:27pm Thu 11 Apr 13

chilliman says...

Paragraph 3 states that the hospital gave O2 18 months notice to remove the masts because there was a helipad being installed. In other words they have left themselves without O2 service. Other suppliers will have masts on different buildings and won't be affected.

I would think that O2 has been searching for a new site but, since so much of that area is either low-rise, conservation or already used by other cellular suppliers they cannot find another aerial site easily.

I don't think that O2 would deliberately not provide service and lose business.
Paragraph 3 states that the hospital gave O2 18 months notice to remove the masts because there was a helipad being installed. In other words they have left themselves without O2 service. Other suppliers will have masts on different buildings and won't be affected. I would think that O2 has been searching for a new site but, since so much of that area is either low-rise, conservation or already used by other cellular suppliers they cannot find another aerial site easily. I don't think that O2 would deliberately not provide service and lose business. chilliman

8:55pm Thu 11 Apr 13

yawnnn says...

and i do believe the police used o2 'airwaves'. a network dedicated to the emergency services,they got rid of o2 too!! cant think why!!! useless network should be shut down immediately!!
and i do believe the police used o2 'airwaves'. a network dedicated to the emergency services,they got rid of o2 too!! cant think why!!! useless network should be shut down immediately!! yawnnn

10:18pm Thu 11 Apr 13

Somethingsarejustwrong says...

I have very rarely experienced any issues with any service provider that don't get resolved, however not in the case of O2.

I have been reporting unacceptable service for months and their usual approach is to suggest that its down to some sort of failure, or planned outage, when its actually clear there are capacity issues.

This company sold me a faulty phone and refused to replace it and now 23 months into my contract its time to go elsewhere; which I have.

Awful service and in my mind the worst service provider in the UK!
I have very rarely experienced any issues with any service provider that don't get resolved, however not in the case of O2. I have been reporting unacceptable service for months and their usual approach is to suggest that its down to some sort of failure, or planned outage, when its actually clear there are capacity issues. This company sold me a faulty phone and refused to replace it and now 23 months into my contract its time to go elsewhere; which I have. Awful service and in my mind the worst service provider in the UK! Somethingsarejustwrong

10:22pm Thu 11 Apr 13

Morpheus says...

I cannot understand this issue. Doesn't the hospital have land lines and computers to send email messages to mobile phones?
I cannot understand this issue. Doesn't the hospital have land lines and computers to send email messages to mobile phones? Morpheus

11:10pm Thu 11 Apr 13

inmegarden says...

Morpheus wrote:
I cannot understand this issue. Doesn't the hospital have land lines and computers to send email messages to mobile phones?
I think the problem is the 'last mile'.
When sending an email via the interweb to a mobile, the email will 'arrive' at an O2 server,migrated across via magic onto the 'carrier' wave/transmission, picked up by a magic net 'mast' and beeped into the mobile. I think its the last thinggymejig the o2 has unpluged.
Hope this helps!
[quote][p][bold]Morpheus[/bold] wrote: I cannot understand this issue. Doesn't the hospital have land lines and computers to send email messages to mobile phones?[/p][/quote]I think the problem is the 'last mile'. When sending an email via the interweb to a mobile, the email will 'arrive' at an O2 server,migrated across via magic onto the 'carrier' wave/transmission, picked up by a magic net 'mast' and beeped into the mobile. I think its the last thinggymejig the o2 has unpluged. Hope this helps! inmegarden

7:12am Fri 12 Apr 13

Somethingsarejustwrong says...

inmegarden wrote:
Morpheus wrote:
I cannot understand this issue. Doesn't the hospital have land lines and computers to send email messages to mobile phones?
I think the problem is the 'last mile'.
When sending an email via the interweb to a mobile, the email will 'arrive' at an O2 server,migrated across via magic onto the 'carrier' wave/transmission, picked up by a magic net 'mast' and beeped into the mobile. I think its the last thinggymejig the o2 has unpluged.
Hope this helps!
Of course it is, what a ridiculous and patronising post!

Do you think we are so out of touch that we think voice and data goes from server to mobile without traveling via the copper and fibre underground?

Patronising!
[quote][p][bold]inmegarden[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Morpheus[/bold] wrote: I cannot understand this issue. Doesn't the hospital have land lines and computers to send email messages to mobile phones?[/p][/quote]I think the problem is the 'last mile'. When sending an email via the interweb to a mobile, the email will 'arrive' at an O2 server,migrated across via magic onto the 'carrier' wave/transmission, picked up by a magic net 'mast' and beeped into the mobile. I think its the last thinggymejig the o2 has unpluged. Hope this helps![/p][/quote]Of course it is, what a ridiculous and patronising post! Do you think we are so out of touch that we think voice and data goes from server to mobile without traveling via the copper and fibre underground? Patronising! Somethingsarejustwrong

1:07pm Fri 12 Apr 13

Brown99 says...

bluemonday wrote:
so we are not allowed to use mobile phones in hospitals because it affects equipment,but there a must for doctors.have'nt they heard of landlines,
Regarding the use of mobiles in hospital - this isn't true and hasn't been for a long time. This might be occasionally true in ITU but I have never come across an instance of it.
[quote][p][bold]bluemonday[/bold] wrote: so we are not allowed to use mobile phones in hospitals because it affects equipment,but there a must for doctors.have'nt they heard of landlines,[/p][/quote]Regarding the use of mobiles in hospital - this isn't true and hasn't been for a long time. This might be occasionally true in ITU but I have never come across an instance of it. Brown99

1:08pm Fri 12 Apr 13

Brown99 says...

Somethingsarejustwro
ng
wrote:
inmegarden wrote:
Morpheus wrote:
I cannot understand this issue. Doesn't the hospital have land lines and computers to send email messages to mobile phones?
I think the problem is the 'last mile'.
When sending an email via the interweb to a mobile, the email will 'arrive' at an O2 server,migrated across via magic onto the 'carrier' wave/transmission, picked up by a magic net 'mast' and beeped into the mobile. I think its the last thinggymejig the o2 has unpluged.
Hope this helps!
Of course it is, what a ridiculous and patronising post!

Do you think we are so out of touch that we think voice and data goes from server to mobile without traveling via the copper and fibre underground?

Patronising!
I think they are trying to be helpful, not patronising.
[quote][p][bold]Somethingsarejustwro ng[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]inmegarden[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Morpheus[/bold] wrote: I cannot understand this issue. Doesn't the hospital have land lines and computers to send email messages to mobile phones?[/p][/quote]I think the problem is the 'last mile'. When sending an email via the interweb to a mobile, the email will 'arrive' at an O2 server,migrated across via magic onto the 'carrier' wave/transmission, picked up by a magic net 'mast' and beeped into the mobile. I think its the last thinggymejig the o2 has unpluged. Hope this helps![/p][/quote]Of course it is, what a ridiculous and patronising post! Do you think we are so out of touch that we think voice and data goes from server to mobile without traveling via the copper and fibre underground? Patronising![/p][/quote]I think they are trying to be helpful, not patronising. Brown99

2:04pm Fri 12 Apr 13

inmegarden says...

Brown99 wrote:
Somethingsarejustwro

ng
wrote:
inmegarden wrote:
Morpheus wrote:
I cannot understand this issue. Doesn't the hospital have land lines and computers to send email messages to mobile phones?
I think the problem is the 'last mile'.
When sending an email via the interweb to a mobile, the email will 'arrive' at an O2 server,migrated across via magic onto the 'carrier' wave/transmission, picked up by a magic net 'mast' and beeped into the mobile. I think its the last thinggymejig the o2 has unpluged.
Hope this helps!
Of course it is, what a ridiculous and patronising post!

Do you think we are so out of touch that we think voice and data goes from server to mobile without traveling via the copper and fibre underground?

Patronising!
I think they are trying to be helpful, not patronising.
Thank you!...I was.
That poster is very angry about the wasp in their mouth!
[quote][p][bold]Brown99[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Somethingsarejustwro ng[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]inmegarden[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Morpheus[/bold] wrote: I cannot understand this issue. Doesn't the hospital have land lines and computers to send email messages to mobile phones?[/p][/quote]I think the problem is the 'last mile'. When sending an email via the interweb to a mobile, the email will 'arrive' at an O2 server,migrated across via magic onto the 'carrier' wave/transmission, picked up by a magic net 'mast' and beeped into the mobile. I think its the last thinggymejig the o2 has unpluged. Hope this helps![/p][/quote]Of course it is, what a ridiculous and patronising post! Do you think we are so out of touch that we think voice and data goes from server to mobile without traveling via the copper and fibre underground? Patronising![/p][/quote]I think they are trying to be helpful, not patronising.[/p][/quote]Thank you!...I was. That poster is very angry about the wasp in their mouth! inmegarden

2:15pm Fri 12 Apr 13

inmegarden says...

PS I thought Morpheus might have been thinking that as computers and mobiles both use wi-fi they could send emails that way. Which is another sort of magic beyond my pay grade. Pip Pip!
PS I thought Morpheus might have been thinking that as computers and mobiles both use wi-fi they could send emails that way. Which is another sort of magic beyond my pay grade. Pip Pip! inmegarden

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