An NHS trust has apologised for chaos with its appointments system after patients faced long delays when trying to book themselves into clinics.
People were repeatedly cut off when telephoning Calderdale and Huddersfield hospitals to book outpatient appointments.
They also faced waiting in queues behind dozens of other patients, causing distress among people waiting to be seen.
One patient was cut off ten times and then was told he was 52nd in the queue when he finally managed to get through to the contact centre.
Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust said extra call centre staff had been drafted in to help reduce waiting times.
Helen Barker, the trust’s chief operating officer, said: “During the past few weeks we have been experiencing some longer waiting times to get through to our appointment centre and we are very sorry for they delays and appreciate the frustration this may have caused.
“We’ve been working hard to reduce wait times. We have recruited a number of additional staff and we are also offering extra hours to existing staff to increase capacity quickly.”
Calderdale and Huddersfield has also set up an e-mail address for people who cannot get through on the phone.
People can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
A statement on the trust’s website said: “We’re working to reduce wait times. We’ve recruited extra staff to handle calls.
“We’re making progress and expect wait times to reduce soon. Appointments continue to be booked as appropriate. We’ll also post regular updates via social media (Twitter and Facebook).
“We are sorry for any upset or inconvenience this is causing.”
For more information about appointments log on to www.cht.nhs.uk