Vodafone apologises for ‘catastrophic’ failure affecting Barclays, RAC, NHS 111 and Police 101

Vodafone has apologised after a “catastrophic” outage last weekend brought down the NHS 111 and police 101 non-emergency phone lines.

The glitch affected Vodafone’s private, as well as public, sector customers.

NHS 111 and police 101 were unavailable on Saturday due to an issue with Vodafone’s fixed-line call routing systems.

During the disruption, Humberside Police tweeted: “We can confirm that 101 is not working nationally. Fault lies with some kit in Birmingham which is being worked on.”

The problem affected a number of other Vodafone customers, including First Great Western, Barclays and RAC.

RAC tweeted on Saturday: “Vodafone suffered a catastrophic failure to its telephone equipment this am which is affecting many large businesses who use their services”.

Vodafone admitted the outage “affected the services we provide to a number of organisations” and offered an apology.

Vodafone told ComputerworldUK affected services were restored by 12.30pm on Saturday, saying its engineers “worked hard to resolve the issue as quickly as possible”.

The telecoms giant promised to monitor its services “closely” and carry out “a full investigation” into the issue.

ComputerworldUK understands callers to NHS 111 were either transferred through to the backup line automatically or played a recorded message instructing them to phone an alternative 0300 number.

An NHS spokeswoman confirmed the 111 number is now working normally. She added: “The national divert and back up lines in place for NHS 111 worked to ensure that disruption for those phoning the service was kept to a minimum.”

The 111 number, which is available 24 hours a day, is intended for ‘urgent but not life threatening’ health issues. It launched in February.

The police 101 line, which has been available since 2012, allows the reporting of crime or other issues that do not require an emergency response. When people call 101, the system determines their location and connects them to the local police force for that area.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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