Snag over mobiles at new hospital

STAFF and visitors at a new hospital in Yorkshire are facing major difficulties caused by a lack of mobile phone coverage.

Managers at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield have received a series of complaints about the problems amid concerns staff on wards or in clinics cannot be readily contacted.

Officials say they can still be reached via bleeps but there are even claims of shortages of the devices at the state-of-the-art hospital which is due to become fully operational today as it replaces another building on the same site.

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Communications boosters have been set up in the hospital’s atrium but there remains no mobile reception across large parts of the hospital including A&E.

The Yorkshire Post understands the problems even affect some pagers, which are vital for contacting staff quickly.

New technology is being sourced by hospital bosses but has not yet been delivered.

A Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust spokesman said: “There have always been some signal coverage issues on the Pinderfields site.

“This affects small parts of both the old and new hospitals depending on the handset and mobile network used. The trust has long had mechanisms in place to deal with this.

“Where staff need mobile phones for their jobs they either have mobiles on our preferred network or WiFi enabled phones provided.

“Landlines remain the most appropriate form of routine contact and are generally most cost efficient for staff not requiring mobile or WiFi connection at work.

“Crash and emergency calls continue to rely on the bleep system.”

Staff carrying personal mobile smartphones could download an application giving access to the WiFi network.

The spokesman added: “In order to improve convenience for visitors and staff we have enhanced our signals in our public spaces as shopping centres do. This covers the new hospital atrium.”