Advice issued after ongoing phone problems at Longton Health Centre
Patients at Longton Health Centre have been left distressed at being unable to contact the surgery.
The surgery, which provides services for 11,000 people across Longton and neighbouring villages, has been experiencing problems with the phone line for over a week.
On Monday, one patient rang the surgery several times, only to hear "This phone number does not exist".
At that time, there was no information about the problem on the surgery's website, and the surgery's Facebook page only said there was a problem with the IT/telephone supplier.
The patient, who asked not to be named, said: "I was very frustrated, and worried, because I was trying to make an appointment for my young son.
"I don't have the MyGP app, and many other people don't either. I feel that there should have been better communication - either through text message or on the website - about what to do in this situation.
"I was wondering about just turning up at the surgery to speak to someone face-to-face, but due to the pandemic, wasn't sure that was an option."
A statement on the Facebook page from Monday, May 17 said: "We are aware that during peak periods, for example, Monday mornings, phone lines tend to be by far the busiest.
"The CSU (Comissioning Support Unit) are in the process of migrating to a new system which has additional capacity, a process which will conclude in early June. We will keep patients up to date with this and in the meantime ask patients to bear with us, particularly during peak periods."
No alternative numbers or methods of communication were offered until yesterday, when the following advice was published on the surgery's website and Facebook page:
"[email protected] is the email address if you need to contact the surgery this morning for non-urgent queries.
"Unfortunately we are still having difficulties with our phones again this morning, this is a known fault and our IT provider are working to fix this problem as we are aware this continued issue is an unacceptable service being provided by our IT provider.
"Please use online services where possible to book, cancel or amend appointments.
!We are very sorry and hope the issue will be sorted soon by our IT provider thank you for your patience.
"If you require medical advice whilst unable to access the surgery please call 111."
The CSU has been contacted for comment.