Residents have been left worrying for their loved ones as phone lines to Watford General Hospital have been "intermittently" down three days in a row.

The West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals Trust confirmed today that an issue continues to affect the hospital’s external telephone lines.

The trust announced the problem on Monday, and while it was later fixed, it returned the following day. 

Update: the trust announced on Monday, March 18, that the phone lines are now working and it apologised for any inconvenience caused.

People calling Watford General Hospital this week were purposely redirected to St Albans Hospital because external calls could not be received at Watford but the internal phone system still worked.

A trust spokesman said: “We are sorry if people have been unable to reach us at Watford General Hospital. We are working hard to resolve an intermittent fault with our phone lines but would like to reassure visitors and patients that we have measures in place which mean they can continue to contact us. 

“People should ring Watford General on the main switchboard number on 01923 244366, where our operators will transfer all calls to the relevant departments.

“We have also advised patients and visitors via our website and social media about how to reach us should they have any issues contacting us.”

Laura Styles said she had tried to contact her mother at the hospital more than 20 times over the two days, but had been unable to get through.

As she lives outside Watford, Laura said that calling is often her only way to get information as she is not always able to visit in person.

“It's just worrying and I can imagine even more for people with more seriously ill family members, especially if they live further away.”

She said that her mother’s nursing home was also not able to contact her at Watford General, leaving them in the dark over her situation.

“We can’t even arrange for Mum to go back to the home if she is being discharged,” Laura added. 

“If there’s a problem, what’s going to happen? Can they call out? You worry because you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Others shared their frustration online at the issues, labelling it “ridiculous” that it hadn’t been fixed.

One commenter said his mother had been admitted on Saturday evening and spoke to a doctor at the hospital the following morning.

He claimed he was supposed to be told where she was being cared for, but had been unable to get through on the phone all Monday afternoon.