Retired Larbert couple accidentally bombarded with coronavirus vaccine appointment calls

A retired Larbert couple’s landline has been accidentally bombarded with calls from NHS Forth Valley workers trying to book coronavirus vaccine appointments.

By Jonathon Reilly
Wednesday, 9th December 2020, 9:01 am

The man and woman, who are aged 62 and 63, have mistakenly been contacted on numerous occasions by health and social care staff – due to their house phone number and an NHS employee-only vaccine line being “very similar”.

A number was set up by NHS FV last Friday to allow frontline staff to book a Covid-19 vaccine, with the new Pfizer/BioNTech vaccination programme due to roll out across Scotland on Tuesday.

The first vaccinations will be given to priority groups including frontline health workers and the elderly.

Sign up to our daily The Falkirk Herald Today newsletter

Some Forth Valley Royal Hospital staff have accidentally dialled a Larbert landline when trying to book coronavirus vaccine appointments. Picture: Michael Gillen.

The Larbert woman, who asked not to be named, said: “My house phone rang all weekend as the callers say the NHS has put out my home number in error.

“I spoke to an NHS on-call service manager on Friday night and he couldn't find my phone number on their system and, as far as he knew, no letters had been sent out regarding this.

“He suggested people had been dialling the wrong number.

“As the majority of the calls I was getting were from mobiles, I find this hard to believe.

“Some said they got the number from an email, others from the intranet and some had letters in front of them.

“We tried ignoring the calls for a while but the same numbers just kept redialling.

“I understand mistakes can be made but this one has been a huge one. It has been very stressful.”

An NHS FV spokeswoman said: “We have set up an internal phone number for health and social care staff to book appointments for the Covid-19 vaccine and, as this number is very similar to a local residential number, we understand that a number of staff may have misdialled it by accident.

“We have issued updated information to staff to raise awareness of this issue and asked them to take extra care to ensure they dial the booking line number correctly.

“We have also created a system to enable staff to request appointments online without having to phone. We hope this will help avoid similar problems from happening in the future and we are very sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.”

Thank you for reading this article on our free-to-read website. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

Please consider purchasing a subscription to our print newspaper to help fund our trusted, fact-checked journalism.