NHS Glasgow: "IT Glitch Still Not Fixed"

One of the UK's largest health boards has failed to fix a major IT problem which has forced hundreds of appointments and procedures to be postponed.

Technicians have been trying to restore the clinical and administrative systems at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde since yesterday. 

A ``fix'' is said to be in place to ensure chemotherapy patients will not be affected by the problem but some other people who have appointments today may have their times re-arranged, the health board said. 

``We are currently in the process of assessing which patients this will impact upon. 

As soon as this has been identified, we will contact the patients direct,'' a spokeswoman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said. 

Emergency care services in the region will be unaffected, according to the health board. Yesterday, 288 outpatient appointments, four inpatient procedures, 40 chemotherapy treatments and 23 day cases were postponed. 

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has apologised again to patients who have been inconvenienced. 

Jean Turner, executive director of the Scotland Patients Association, warned that delays in appointments could have significant consequences. People could have been waiting for several months to get an outpatients appointment, she told BBC Radio Scotland. 

``You could be going for your outpatient appointment for something quite serious and if you are put off for another four weeks - it could have taken nearly three or four months to get this appointment because you have got to go to your GP, get referred - if you're put back, it could have significant consequences for some people.'' 

The IT problems are a ``disaster'', Dr Turner told the Good Morning Scotland programme. 

``What is so frightening about it all is that they have been working so hard since yesterday and through the night and it's still not fixed. 

``It's sad that we spend so many millions of pounds on computer systems and our lives depend on them, and in hospital your life literally can depend on systems working, and information being provided to the health professionals. 

``It's scary that they have not been able to fix it.'' Much of the equipment in hospitals is computerised, she pointed out. 

``I do hope that no patients will be put in danger because of this, or put at the end of a queue because of this.'' 

A Scottish Government spokesman said: ``We have been made aware of an issue related to IT at NHS Greater Glasgow that has resulted in a number of postponements. We have been assured that staff are working hard to return services to normal and to reschedule appointments at the earliest opportunity.''