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Sandwell Hospital IT overhaul after cancelled appointment chaos

By Richard Guttridge | Sandwell | Health | Published:

A radical overhaul of failing IT systems which have resulted in scores of appointments being cancelled at a Black Country hospital will get under way this month.

Sandwell Hospital

Chiefs at Sandwell Hospital say the problems with computer systems which have dogged the unit over the summer cannot go on.

Nearly 150 appointments were cancelled at short notice at the West Bromwich hospital in June due to an IT meltdown.

Sandwell NHS bosses will first focus on improving wifi connection at the hospital before a complete overhaul of systems.

A planned introduction of a new electronic patient records system, called Unity, designed to free up more time for doctors, has been put on hold following the failures. Chiefs want to be confident it will work without problems before it goes live.

Trust chief executive Toby Lewis said in a new report: "A major plan of work has been agreed by the board to try and reduce lost time due to IT problems.

"The first stage of the plan is functioning wifi during September. The next step is a complete reconfiguration of our network during October. Unity will only go live when we are convinced that the IT is stable enough to consistently well. However, Unity training continues and everyone needs to get booked in before the month ends."

Sandwell Hospital was plunged into chaos on two days during June, forcing 147 medical appointments to be cancelled at short notice.

The IT failure, which was blamed on an ‘unplanned internal update’ and resulted in staff having to revert to paper-based methods to order tests and results, crippled the trust, which also runs Birmingham City Hospital, and meant many patients had to be turned away. Bosses apologised for the issues which put computer systems out of action.

It comes after it was revealed new multi-storey car parks would be built at both Sandwell General and City Hospitals by 2020. The trust is also preparing for the opening of the Midland Metropolitan Hospital, planned for 2022.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Chief Reporter - @RichG_star

Chief Reporter for the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton.

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