Hospital phones upgraded

Wairau Hospital's beleaguered phone system has received a major $50,000 upgrade after the ageing system was hit by technical problems earlier this year.

The Nelson Marlborough District Health board has moved from the PABX system which had been in place for 20 years.

The major changeover to the Internet Protocol (IP) systems which operates IP and analogue phones happened over the weekend.

The first part of the transfer on Friday night between 7pm and 8.30pm was successful.

During the work staff were able to use cellphones to communicate between departments and with Nelson Hospital.

On Saturday staff spent 12 hours changing over 450 analogue phones from PABX.

The ageing phone system had been hit by problems.

In March, calls to Wairau Hospital were impacted by an unplanned telephone outage affecting some direct-dial numbers and voicemail.

External calls to the switchboard also faced delays.

A new piece of hardware had to be brought in from Wellington to fix the problem.

Board IT and infrastructure general manager Patrick Ng said following the outage a review of the stability of the phone system concluded a major upgrade was necessary.

"There were issues with our ageing phone system earlier in the year.

"Limitations of our older PABX telephony system included the ability to source spare parts, and compatibility with our more modern, IP phones.

"The newer system is more robust, has greater capacity and will provide us with more capability for the future."

A similar upgrade was planned for Nelson Hospital next month.