More problems for NHS IT8th May 2007
A software upgrade has wreaked havoc on the new NHS computer system.
The upgrade has caused hundreds of patient records to be created inaccurately and has mainly affected patients in Greater Manchester who had appointments booked via the online system. 400 duplicate records were created each day before the glitch was discovered meaning staff are now having to monitor records as they use them to merge information and delete replica files. A spokesperson for NHS Connecting for Health, which is overseeing the IT upgrade, said they expected the problem to be fixed in the next few weeks adding, "Although comprehensive testing is undertaken prior to the upgrades taking place, it is not unusual for these kinds of upgrades to identify teething problems in the early stages following implementation.â€? He said he was confident the problems would not affect patient care.
The national NHS IT programme has been beset with problems from the outset and has been heavily criticised by MPs and medical staff alike. Recently a committee of MPs warned that delays and problems with the upgrade could cost the taxpayer as much as Â£12.4bn. Doctors have also raised concerns about patient confidentiality as all records will be available across the country. The upgrade of the NHS IT programme plans to link more than 30,000 GPs in England to nearly 300 hospitals by 2014, and includes an electronic medical records system and provision for e-prescriptions. Among the places affected by the recent problems are the University Hospital of South Manchester Foundation Trust and PCT Clinical Assessment Centres in Greater Manchester.
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