NHS 24 yield to using pen and paper after new system crashes

NHS 24 help line staff had to resort to pen and paper after the new multi-million pound computer system crashed within an hour of its launch.

The new system Future Programme was officially launched on 28 October 2015 at 6pm. Patients who rang the help line number faced delays before their calls were answered. NHS 24 had estimated around 200 callers were affected by the disruption.

NHS said it will reinstate the new technology when “it is safe to do so”. This computer system is meant to make their job more efficient but the total cost rose to 50 per cent higher at £117.4 million, from the original estimation of £75.8 million.

Scottish patient Dave Attwood  said: “How is this IT program allowed to go off track?

“People need beds and treatments but what we seem to have is an under spending of bed shortages, low treatment targets and major over spending on unnecessary.”

It is understood that there were occasions in which callers seemed to vanish from the line and information about their health problems failed to appear on the screen. Staff contacted the Scottish Government via email with concerns about how Future Programme operates.

A spokeswoman for NHS 24 said: “NHS 24 can confirm that following implementation of a new technology system yesterday, we experienced some technical difficulties and have gone back to the old system.

“Even though the system had worked well during the day time and several calls were managed easily, during early evening, some patients had a slightly longer waiting time to access the service.”

The NHS IT team has worked throughout the night and have finally identified the cause of the problem. They are aiming to have a solution in place and to have the new system fully functioning as soon as possible, but will not implement it until it is completely safe to do so.