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‘Critical’ IT incident leaves GP practices without access to all systems

A major IT systems failure in Devon has left GP practices without communications or medical systems.

The ‘critical’ incident at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust happened over the weekend, according to the Trust, and continued into Monday morning. 

The incident affected systems across almost all of the 27 GP practices in the area, leaving them without communications systems and access to medical records.

A spokesperson from the Trust, which was operating at the highest level of escalation due to the issue, said: ‘We have declared a critical incident following a critical IT systems failure. Our IT staff have been working overnight to try and resolve the issues and restore IT resilience.

‘But we have had to cancel all routine surgery and outpatients appointments today. GP practices, Torbay Hospital and all our community sites are affected.

‘Please only come to Torbay Hospital if it is critical for you to do so. We apologise for the inconvenience and distress this will cause and will update our website as soon as there is any news.’

Chair of South Devon and Torbay LMC, Dr Ian Morris, said: It has affected the vast majority of practices in south Devon and Torbay. For some practices it’s been telephones and IT systems, all records. We’ve had to go to the back up systems if available.’

Deputy chief executive at Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust, Jane Viner added that the Trust was doing ‘everything we can’ to restore the IT systems. 

She said: ‘Torbay Hospital is extremely busy and we are operating at OPEL 4 – the highest level of escalation.’

NHS Devon CCG said all systems were restored by 12pm Monday afternoon, however it warned that GP practices should be aware that it could happen again. 

A spokesperson said: 'GP practices are advised that even though connection has been restored, a further failure cannot be ruled out while the root cause is being confirmed.'

It follows IT issues in the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent areas which meant GPs were unable to access patient records and appointment lists

Readers' comments (2)

  • i bet the GP practices still worked very hard to maintain services as best they could in impossible circumstances. A big thank you from NHS england, GMC, patients and the media should be given. i suspect they will be threatened with legal action for working without proper insurance cover though instead. But it does raise a point - if we don't have access to any notes we should not be seeing patients at all as its considered unsafe practice. there should be a national directive from the RCGP and NHS england as to what to provide and not provide in such circumstances and agree any mistakes are fully covered by the NHS insurance scheme as its not the practices fault the computer system doesn't work. i would suggest you can only provide an emergency service during such circumstances because in effect thats all you can actually do.

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  • could pulse provide more details such as which system failed? This is poor journalism.

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