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NHS Out of Hours Helpline Problems

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6:22pm 1st September 2012
(Updated 6:22pm 1st September 2012)

Cornwall's out of hours doctors service says it has fixed a problem with its phone system.

At one point on Saturday afternoon health bosses were advising patients to call NHS Direct or, if they needed urgent medical attention to dial 999.

Now the Primary Care Trust says the problem has been resolved.

The telephone malfunction caused some patients to have trouble getting through to the service. On an average summer Saturday more than a thousand patients would be expected to use the number.

A spokesperson for the PCT told Pirate FM that the problem had been down to a "technical glitch." BT engineers are investigating what caused the issue, which last a few hours. A 'fail safe' is being used while the root cause is identified.

Earlier this week Pirate FM revealed a rise in the number of people using Treliske's A&E service, putting the hospital under pressure. The hospital said that some of this was down to changes in Serco's out of hours system. Health bosses insisted that they were getting on top of those problems.

On its website Serco says that its service "operates from 6.30pm to 8.00am Mondays to Fridays and 24 hours a day at weekends and on Bank Holidays."

Serco has already faced criticism from the Care Quality Commission and is being investigated by the Primary Care Trust over care standards and the way it records its figures.

6:22pm 1st September 2012

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