A mobile phone mast could be returned to a hospital just weeks after it was removed, plunging residents and medical staff into a communication blackout.

O2 is considering restoring the phone mast to the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton, as one of several possible sites.

The communications company’s decision to remove the mast at the end of last month has left thousands of residents without a mobile phone signal, while creating havoc with hospital staff’s ability to be contacted.

A company spokesman said it was seeking legal permission to reinstate the mast but did not have a timescale for when it would be back and operational.

Customers are being offered goodwill credit including a month’s line rental free by way of compensation on a case-by-case basis.

Brighton and Hove city councillor Gill Mitchell described the situation as “an utter, utter cock-up”.

She said: “There seems to have been a breakdown in communications.

“The hospital trust told O2 they had 18 months to remove the post and O2 just put a date in their diary and then removed it even though the hospital renovation could be more than a year away.”

More doctors have contacted The Argus after our story in Thursday’s paper revealing the extent of the problems.

Radiology expert Dr Hugh Harvey said: “As a doctor, I rely heavily on my phone whilst working, especially when on-call. There have been unfortunate incidents now that have directly resulted in delay of patient care simply because no one could reach me, or I could not reach them.”

An O2 spokesman said: “We are progressing several options with the utmost urgency in order to restore full service as quickly as possible.

“We have the resources ready but cannot do anything without the appropriate legal permissions which we are pursuing with the highest priority.

“Again we apologise to those customers affected but can reassure them that we are absolutely committed to resolving this as soon as we can.”