Lightning cuts off hospital phones
Lightning has damaged telephone services at Southland Hospital, leaving it running on only two lines.
The Southern District Health Board has asked people not to call the hospital today to keep the phones open for urgent calls.
Nursing and Midwifery executive director Leanne Samuel said the telephone switchboard at the hospital had been affected by lightning on Saturday night.
Last night the hospital was running on two landlines in and out of the complex as repair work was started.
Engineers would continue working through the night to assess the damage, but with hundreds of extension lines at the hospital, it would take some time, Samuel said. A replacement part for the switchboard had been ordered, but in the meantime, people should refrain from making any non-urgent calls.
Other services would not be affected as doctors and duty teams would use cellphones, she said.
The public would be notified by radio of any health board services cancelled because of poor weather.
The Southland Times