Plea for public to dial carefully after hospital phone number changeover

A phone number changeover at Southampton’s busy university hospitals has been causing confusion, with members of the public misdialling.

All direct dial phone numbers at Southampton General Hospital and Princess Anne Hospital have recently changed from 023 8079 XXXX to 023 8120 XXXX.

But many patients and other callers are automatically dialling 023 80 followed by the new 8120 part of the number – meaning they get through to local households and businesses rather than the hospital.

Now switchboard bosses have issued a plea for anyone ringing straight through to departments to think before they dial.

Adrian Byrne, director of information management and technology at UHS, said: “Although our main switchboard number remains the same (023 8077 7222), all our direct dial numbers have now changed.

“We have done our best to communicate this change as widely as possible to ensure a smooth transition, but unfortunately a number of patients and other callers are continuing to use 023 80, probably just out of habit.

“This has led to private households and local businesses being on the receiving end of unwanted calls, which is obviously disruptive for them, as well as being frustrating for the caller who is trying to get through to the hospital.”

Mr Byrne added: “Obviously we want to do everything possible to stop this happening for all concerned and would appeal for anyone ringing a department or individual at the hospital to ensure they use the new number format and do not mix it up with the old code of 023 80.

“We are grateful to members of the public who have contacted us about this issue and apologise for any inconvenience they have experienced as a result.”

The phone number changeover at UHS began in November, with both the old and new codes running in tandem until February 3, when a recorded message was introduced for anyone using the old 023 8079.

UHS is reinforcing the appeal by adding the message “Please note our phone number does not start 023 80” to all patient letters. 

It is thought many members of the public are dialling 023 80 because they think that is the Southampton code. In fact, just the 023 part is the code for Southampton.

This means that patients dialling the hospital from an existing Southampton phone number need to drop the 023 and then dial 8120 XXXX.

Posted on Wednesday 12 February 2014