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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Four out of five practices battle with IT problems

Four out of five GP surgeries are reporting one or more problems with their IT systems, according to a survey conducted by Londonwide LMCs.

Problems include slow internet connections, poor and out of date hardware as well as poor IT support to problems with internal networks, found the survey of 95 practices across 26 CCG areas.

It also found that 66% of practices still rely on the outdated Microsoft Windows XP Operating system, which will have to be replaced before 8 April 2015 when security support expires.

Vice-chair of Coventry LMC Grant Ingrams said that the NHS should really have planned better for the coming redundancy of Windows XP, considering that general support for the system was cancelled years ago.

‘It’s the NHS doing what it does best. Wasting money responding to a crisis rather than planning in advance.’

Londonwide LMCs said the number of practices still using Windows XP was a ‘concern’ and that the results will be used to drive IT infrastructure improvements.

A spokesperson told Pulse: ‘We hope that the results from the survey will help us build a picture of the IT systems and pressures that exist in practices across London and we hope to use the feedback to improve IT infrastructure in GP practices in the future.’

Readers' comments (5)

  • Our surgery is about to put in yet another official complaint regarding IT support - will also forward to MP just before election and just before IT support goes out to tender.

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  • Our Computers are from 2008 - we were told they would be replaced after 3 years, then actually 5 years and still waiting.

    They are obsolete and running XP.

    We were pushed into a switch to EMIS web with a promise of upgrade of IT ASAP if we did - 18 months later still waiting.

    The RAM on current machines is 2 Gb and Emis web needs approx 1.8, so if the machine needs to do anything else it freezes or crashes.

    The practices in London have an IT budget about twice as large as the budget in Surrey, and this inequality is daft, as it costs the same to place a computer in one surgery to the next.

    Colleagues in London have i7 computers, laptops and Ipads to take to care homes with remote access, we can't open a letter on Docman without waiting and wasting precious appointment time from our 10 minutes.

    Not helped that NHS England released last years IT money in March!!!!!!!! so no time to spend it either.

    Why so much inequality - and where did the 11 billion invested in the national program for IT go exactly??

    More money into private contractors pockets, and back handed contributions to MPs re-election funds perhaps?

    Nice work if you can get it, while we can't even get a consult running smoothly at times.

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  • I have EMIS Web. Every day the computer shuts down 2-3 times and on a record day upto 6 times. Problem being reported since Januqary this year and data being lost. Once was left with a printed out referral but no trace of consultation or this document on computer. Emis suffers from incomeptency and matter has been reported to MPS/CCG?LMC and local IT. Emis doesn't have a solution - there is a record for at least 80 error logs. If I as a GP erred twice, I would be strung up, but EMIS is untouchable. Any ideas, why private companies are allowed to wreak havoc with complacency from local authorities. MPS has been the only organisation that has expressed serious concern about this. LMC and CCG did not even care to respond.

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  • @10.53: We were pushed into Emis Web too with a promise that this would allow the server would be removed from the PM's office so we could rent the room to an outside agency as the PCT was not happy to pay rent for the PMs office; We are left with a wretched system and the server still generating heat and consuming electricity for this super Web based system. How much did Emis web 'invest' in PR with PCTs?

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  • Advice for 10:53: 'make a deal' with somebody in the local commissioning group or IT - it helps. This present day NHS is rife with types who hate transparency and these types are in all the right positions

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