BASILDON Hospital has re-instated the 01268 dialling code to its telephone number following pleas from the public.

People ringing the hospital can now dial 01268 524900 to reach the switchboard number, instead of 0845 1553111, which was brought in last year.

The move follows concerns from some people who confused the normal rate 0845 number with a premium 0870 telephone number, which is in fact, much more expensive.

A hospital spokesman said: “We have listened to the concerns voiced by our patients and the public since the introduction of the 0845 number.

“We introduced that number so our switchboard can operate from a different venue, namely Orsett Hospital, in the event of a disaster, such as a fire.

“The 0845 number is not a premium rate one and such numbers are included in some phone providers ‘free’ call packages, for example BT.”

Jenny Galpin, director of estates and facilities, at the hospital, added: “Although those patients who regularly have to call the hospital were given direct dial numbers for wards starting with 01268, we realised most of the public would prefer it if we brought our main 01268 switchboard number back.”