Phone line row leaves patients unable to contact health service in Letterkenny

A row over who should fix a faulty phone line has left thousands of HSE patients unable to contact a public health service in the northwest.

Patients needing prescriptions, counselling and appointments have been unable to call the Primary Health Care Centre in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, for most of the past three weeks. During that time telephones at the centre have been ringing out.

The phone lines did come back into operation for a couple of days . Eircom says its engineers have checked the lines and says the fault does not rest with it.

The fault was reported on August 5th and again on August 10th. A team of Eircom engineers thought they had fixed it on August 11th, but a couple of days later, the phone lines were again down.

An Eircom spokesman said it had now done all it could to rectify the problem.

“Further investigation by the Eircom technical support team has concluded that this issue appears to relate to the customer’s internal phone system,” he said.

Sources at the centre say the phone lines have been down again since last week. They say patients are getting very frustrated with the service.

Last night, the HSE said it was aware of the situation and had tried to contact all affected patients by letter.

A spokesperson said while it understood that patients were anxious about not being able to contact the centre, the HSE was doing all it could to rectify the situation.

“We have contacted Eircom and they are working on the problem.”