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London NHS trust cancels operations as IT system fails in heatwave

One of the NHS’s biggest hospital trusts is facing major problems after its IT system failed because of the extreme temperatures earlier this week.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ trust (GSTT) in London has had to cancel operations, postpone appointments and divert seriously ill patients to other hospitals in the capital as a result of its IT meltdown.

The situation means that doctors cannot see patients’ medical notes remotely and are having to write down the results of all examinations by hand. They are also unable to remotely access the results of diagnostic tests such as X-rays and CT and MRI scans and are instead having to call the imaging department, which is overloading the department’s telephone lines.

GSTT has declared the problem a “critical site incident”. It has apologised to patients and asked them to bring letters or other paperwork about their condition with them to their appointment to help overcome doctors’ loss of access to their medical history.

One doctor at GSTT, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “This is having a major effect. We are back to using paper and can’t see any existing electronic notes. We are needing to triage basic tests like blood tests and scans. There’s no access to results apart from over the phone, and of course the whole hospital is trying to use that line.

“Frankly, it’s a big patient safety issue and we haven’t been told how long it will take to fix. We are on divert for major specialist services such as cardiac, vascular and ECMO.”

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Source: The Guardian, 21 July 2022


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