Ongoing IT System Issues Cause Patient Cancellations

Issues with a raft of IT systems at the largest NHS trust in England has led to a wave of cancelled appointments and service disruption.

Barts Health NHS Trust has endured ten days of IT difficulties after it experienced an equipment failure leading to several IT systems being inaccessible to clinicians.

IT problems emanated from a major equipment failure on 20th April which was not satisfactorily fixed within a week of it initially being identified.

Access to imaging and radiology within the trust have been severely limited, this has led to Barts being forced to cancel a “very small number of elective operations that were reliant on images, and some patients attending outpatients are experiencing delays,” by the admission of the trust.

Barts went on to explain some of the difficulties that it has encountered in an official statement.

“The biggest challenge we face is with a system which supplies x-rays and other images, including CT and MRI scans. We have not lost our historic archive of images, but we have been unable to access them so far. While new images cannot be transmitted electronically, staff are viewing them on the machines that take the pictures.”

Other systems have also been affected, including its chemotherapy prescribing and digital dictation systems.

Problems with pathology have also been experienced, but Barts states that this has now “significantly improved with all orders now being received electronically by all Barts Health laboratories, although a backlog of blood and specimen tests will take time to process”.

This is just the latest in a long line of difficulties for the biggest NHS trust in the country.

Barts has previously been criticised for poor financial management, having accumulated the largest deficit of any active NHS trust.

The trust said it is continuing to “urgently maintain the operational resilience of our services, and ensuring our patients are safe. We have tried and tested contingency plans in place to keep our patients safe and we will continue to communicate to patients and local partners.”

Clinicians at Barts have reviewed the needs of every patient in order to ensure that the procedures and actions taken are appropriate for each individual, in an attempt to ensure that disruption is minimised.

Appointments will be rescheduled as soon as this is feasible.


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