Share your horror stories about NHS IT

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One thought on “Share your horror stories about NHS IT

  1. I am a junior doctor working at a London District General Hospital. I am
    trying to improve the working conditions in my hospital with a group
    of junior doctors, in order to provide better care in a more efficient
    manner so that we can spend more time working with patients on their
    medical problems.

    We felt that IT problems wasted a ridiculous amount
    of our time at work. A large part of our time is spent trying to log
    on to one of the many computers on each ward. Here it goes:

    Each member of staff has a username and password.
    Once you’re logged in, anyone can access blood results, XRays and
    patient letters (through different programs to which you need to log
    on again with different usernames and passwords) and the internet.

    If, however, you walk away and don’t log out (because you’re on a ward
    round and have to keep up the pace), the screen locks automatically
    and the next person who wants to quickly check blood results on their
    ward round can’t access that computer. That person can’t log you out.
    The screen is locked, and the only way to access the computer is to
    switch it off completely, cutting its power, waiting a minute or so,
    then switching it on again, then waiting while it re-boots another 2
    minutes, then logging on.

    If you are already logged on somewhere else and nobody reboots the
    computer you are already logged on to then you can’t log on anywhere
    until you find the computer you are locked out of.

    I reboot so many computers every single day on every ward at work, and
    so do all of my colleagues. I have never seen a patient or their
    relative sat at one of our computers trying to breach confidentiality.
    It just doesn’t happen and it can’t unless they have each program’s
    passwords anyway.

    So, I brought this to the attention of the IT manager who booted me
    out of his office within minutes saying that wherever else I worked
    where they didn’t have this system must have been breaching
    patient confidentiality law.

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