Sheffield hospital phone lines down due to Leeds flooding

Some telephone lines at Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital have stopped working due to damage to the region’s phone systems from flooding in Leeds.

Tuesday, 29th December 2015, 8:11 am
Aerial picture over the Kirkstall Road area of Leeds, West Yorkshire, where flooding has occurred after the monumental amount of rain has caused the river Aire to burst its banks.

Connection problems with the lines, including the hospital’s main number, started on Monday and are still affecting services today.

Both Vodafone and BT systems in Leeds have been impacted by flood damage.

Aerial picture over the Kirkstall Road area of Leeds, West Yorkshire, where flooding has occurred after the monumental amount of rain has caused the river Aire to burst its banks.

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Sheffield Children’s Hospital have also been experiencing similar problems, while South Yorkshire Police have also warned that people may have difficulties contacting them via the 101 non-emergency number.

A spokesman for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals said: “This has impacted on Sheffield Teaching Hospitals as some of our telephony services are provided from the affected installations in Leeds.

“Specifically the main Royal Halllamshire Telephone number 0114 271 1900 and the numbers 0114 271 2000 to 0114 271 3999 inclusive are unobtainable.

“If patients and visitors need to call one of the above telephone numbers please dial the Northern General Hospital switchboard on 0114 2434343 and the Switchboard team will connect the call.

Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield.

“Additional switchboard staff are on duty but callers are asked to be patient as the additional volume of calls may mean it will take a little longer for calls to be answered.

“Engineers are currently trying to repair the damage.”

A spokesman for Sheffield Children’s Hospital said: “We are currently experiencing problems with incoming phone calls to the hospital. The problem affects any number that begins with ‘271xxxx.’

“Whilst engineers try to fix this problem if you need to contact the hospital, please use the following number 0114 305 3619 - you will then be connected to the appropriate ward or department. All other numbers remain unaffected.”

Flooding at Kirkstall at Bridge Road. 27 December 2015. Picture Bruce Rollinson

It comes as the council leader in Leeds said the Government needs to act now to stop what she sees as a north-south gap in support for prevention schemes.

Judith Blake was assessing the damage caused in the city centre and other areas by the River Aire after what she called a “preventable disaster” for Leeds.

Ms Blake said a flood prevention scheme for the city was ditched by the Government in 2011.

And the Labour councillor contrasted the response to floods in the North of England with what happened following the inundation of parts of Somerset last year.

Asked if she saw the situation in terms of a north-south divide, she said: “I think we’re beginning to feel that very strongly.

“At that time there were other flooding events in the North that didn’t get anywhere near the support that we saw going into Somerset.”

Ms Blake said 2,000 homes had been flooded in Leeds over the last few days and more than 400 businesses were affected.

She said that, in response to very high river levels during the 2007 floods, a scheme was drawn up to protect the whole of the city from the River Aire.

But, she said, the Government pulled the funding in 2011, leaving the council to fund just the first phase of the project, in the city centre.

She said: “I think there’s a real anger growing across the North about the fact that the cuts have been made to the flood defences and we’ll be having those conversations as soon as we are sure that people are safe and that we start the clean-up process and really begin the assess the scale of the damage.”

She said: “So there are some very serious questions for Government to answer on this and we’ll be putting as much pressure on as possible to redress the balance and get the funding situation equalised so the North get its fair share.”

Prime Minister David Cameron dismissed the complaint, claiming the North gets more per head spent on flood prevention schemes than the South.

But he conceded the regularity with which homes were now being flooded made a review of what was being spent where a vital exercise.

The Government has ordered a major review of flood prevention strategy after the latest incident saw 500 troops deployed to help clean up after thousands were evacuated and many left without power.