Experts Try to Fix NHS IT Failure

Technicians are trying to solve a computer failure that has prevented 80 NHS trusts gaining access to patients’ records and admissions since Sunday.Eight major hospitals and more than 70 primary care trusts in north-west England and the West Midlands were hit. The failure means staff have to log patient movements manually, but no clinical information has been affected. A spokesman at University Hospital, Birmingham, said they hoped to have the system back up by Tuesday afternoon.

The problem affects trusts in Birmingham and the Black Country, Cheshire and Merseyside, Cumbria and Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Shropshire and Staffordshire and the southern part of the West Midlands.

Computer company CSC, which runs the system, said experts were working around the clock to resolve the situation.

A spokesman for NHS Connecting for Health, which oversees the multi-billion pound NHS IT service, said that no data had been lost, and that the incident was caused by “storage area network equipment failure”.

The NHS Programme for IT aims to link more than 30,000 GPs to nearly 300 hospitals by 2014.

It is set to include an online booking system, a centralised medical records system for 50 million patients, e-prescriptions and fast computer network links between NHS bodies.