Fears over mobile phone coverage

Doctors have raised concerns over the poor mobile phone and broadband coverage in Norfolk and Suffolk, warning black holes in reception can make it impossible to contact staff and lead to patients suffering.

Doctors have raised concerns over the poor mobile phone and broadband coverage in Norfolk and Suffolk, warning black holes in reception can make it impossible to contact staff and lead to patients suffering.

One GP said they sometimes had to drive half a mile up the road to get a mobile phone signal to call district nurses, Macmillan nurses, fellow doctors and emergency services.

The scale of the problem came to light after Norfolk County Council set up a working group to investigate the quality of broadband and mobile coverage in the county.

The group was set up due to fears a lack of investment by major providers in fast broadband services and decent mobile phone coverage will leave Norfolk in the slow lane and harm the county's economic prospects.

When the public were invited to have their say on the problems, it became clear health professionals were being particularly affected by poor phone coverage.

One “frequently exasperated” GP covering rural South Norfolk told County Hall: “I have several anecdotal examples where I have needed to contact colleagues - district nurse, Macmillan nurse, GP colleagues, carers, relatives and emergency services - only to find that I have to drive half a mile up the road to get help or make contact.”