Minister orders review after NHS computer chaos

Health secretary Alex Neil has ordered a review of NHS computer systems after a cock-up in Scotland.

More than 500 appointments and operations were postponed after servers at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde failed.

Over 459 outpatient appointments, 14 inpatient procedures, 43 day cases and 48 chemotherapy treatments were postponed over the last couple of days because doctors, nurses and administration staff were left unable to access vital clinical information, including patients’ records.

Neil told the Scottish Express that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has fixed the “problem with the server” [surely there must be more than one, even in Scotland -ed] and started reloading users back on to the system.

No data was lost and half of the NHS users now have access to the system, and the remainder should have access soon, he said.

Neil promised that there would be a robust review of IT systems and backup systems across the health service.

The problem appears to be in the software. Experts have been despatched from Microsoft and Charteris to “try to get to the root cause of the problem”.

There have been the usual “leaves on the line ” apologies about the inconvenience.

Robert Calderwood, chief executive of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said that the IT problems were “unprecedented”.

He said that, thanks to a lot of hard work from the IT department, the vast majority of the services have been maintained and around 7,400 procedures and appointments planned over the past 36 hours have gone ahead as scheduled.

For example, the vast majority of chemotherapy sessions went ahead although a small number of sessions were postponed.

Labour health spokesperson Neil Findlay warned the situation was “very worrying” because similar IT systems were used across Scotland.

He called for an an independent review of all of IT systems across Scottish health boards.