IT problems at the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) hospital have finally been fixed after two days without access to key systems. The hospital blamed Microsoft's Active Directory technology for the issue.
The outages first occurred on Tuesday when the hospital's network was suffering an issue that stopped staff from being able to connect to its “clinical and administrative systems”. The organisation confirmed on Thursday that it had finally been fixed.
"The IT network failure at NHSGGC’s acute hospital sites has today been repaired enabling clinical staff to fully access systems," it said in a statement.
"This repair was effected by NHSGGC IT teams working in collaboration with international experts from our suppliers at Microsoft and Charteris, and our IT teams will continue to closely monitor the situation as clinical staff begin their work today."
Robert Calderwood, NHSGGC chief executive, explained that an issue with the Active Directory technology was the cause of the incident.
"The situation is that as users log on they go through a system called Microsoft Active Directory, a router system which recognises users and allows individual access to our clinical and administrative support systems," he said.
"This was corrupted over the weekend, which became apparent when staff logged on to the system on Tuesday after the holiday weekend.”
NHSGGC added that the specific reason of the issue remains unknown but it is being investigated. "At this stage it remains unknown what exactly caused this problem to occur in Glasgow and Clyde and this is one of the major issues and we continue to work closely with Microsoft to get to the root of the problem," it said.
V3 contacted Microsoft for comment on the situation now that the issue has been resolved, but had received no reply at the time of publication.
The hospital said 485 outpatient appointments, 14 planned inpatient procedures, 43 day cases and 48 chemotherapy patient treatments had been cancelled so far. It added, though, that 7,400 patients have still been seen by staff.
The incident is another indication of the difficulties faced by the NHS when using technology. Previous attempts to overhaul its use with the National Programme for IT (NPfIT) led to the loss of billions of pounds and no clear benefits to the NHS.
Despite this, the current government has outlined plans to make the NHS paperless by 2018. This has raised concerns among those that have looked into the old NPfIT, such as in a recent report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
“After the sorry history of the National Programme, we are sceptical that the Department can deliver its vision of a paperless NHS by 2018,” it said at the time.
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