Burnaby Hospital phone lines went down temporarily, making it difficult for families to contact loved ones

Fraser Health says issues affecting many of its hospitals’ phone systems over the past few days have not affected patient care, but one frustrated family says it’s just another sign of the health-care system straining.

Edward Corbett says his elderly mother was admitted to Burnaby Hospital Sunday with severe pain and paralysis, and he couldn’t get through to get any information on her condition.

“The phone lines were down completely. Every time I tried to call the number it would literally go nowhere — the phone didn’t ring,” Corbett told CityNews.

He was eventually told to try calling other hospitals and ask to be transferred, but that didn’t work either.

“I was wondering why this wasn’t announced to the public, and why there was no backup system in place to allow people who wanted to know information about their loved ones to be able to gain the information they required,” Corbett added.

Corbett believes the temporary issue is just one more sign the health-care system is strained.

“There’s a lot of loved ones, a lot of aging people in the population. This is the last thing we need to have — we need a functioning healthcare system, or at least the appearance of one,” he said.

As of Wednesday morning, the telephone lines are operating again at Burnaby Hospital. In a statement to CityNews, Fraser Health says it is aware it is experiencing phone system issues in its hospitals and is “working with our service provider to resolve it as quickly as possible. There is no impact to patient care.”

“We appreciate the patience of people trying to call our hospitals as we work to address this unforeseen issue,” the health authority added.

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