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Hospital trust fails to send over 50,000 patient letters to GPs due to IT fault

Hospital trust fails to send over 50,000 patient letters to GPs due to IT fault

Exclusive A major Essex hospital trust failed to send more than 50,000 patient letters to GPs due to an IT fault, Pulse can reveal.

‘Over the last few years’, 53,000 letters from Mid and South Essex Foundation Trust were never delivered to GPs in the area, with local GPs telling Pulse clinical information was not passed and acted on as a result.

One GP told Pulse that the information ‘seemed to have disappeared into a computer glitch black hole’.

A meeting was also held yesterday night to discuss the situation and regional authorities have been informed.

The IT glitch – which meant some letters sent electronically to GPs from local hospitals were never received – has since been fixed, the trust told Pulse.

The trust said that a problem with IT systems at Mid and South Essex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust meant that some patient discharge summaries and clinic letters – updating GPs on the care and treatment their patients had received – were not sent electronically.

The problem with the IT systems dates back several years, and came to light when a GP surgery realised it was missing some information.

The Trust covers a population of 1.2 million, and around 53,000 electronic patients’ letters were not received by GPs.

However, this only affected some electronic transfers – many of the letters were also sent in paper form, and the patients themselves received their copies through the post.

The IT issue has been resolved, and now Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust and the local Integrated Care System are working together to review all of the letters and to make sure that GP patient records are up to date.

Dr Ronan Fenton, System Medical Director, said: ‘We will be giving our GP practices all of the support they need to process the backlog of discharge summaries and clinic letters.’

Capita, who manages NHS England’s primary care support service, was forced to apologise for failing to deliver nearly 50,000 cervical screening letters in 2018.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Born Jovial 17 March, 2023 12:00 pm

To err is human but it takes a computer system to really foul up things I suppose

Giles Elrlngton 17 March, 2023 12:36 pm

As a hospital doctor I know that secondary care NHS IT has been failing for years if not decades.

Angela Parker 17 March, 2023 1:11 pm

IT reform would transform the job satisfaction for most clinicians. Could the senior management teams take an I T supplier to see the way it works on the front line ? There is a nearly always a mismatch between what was purchased and what was actually delivered . Every department should have its own IT person on site and the problems are probably mostly fixable – Logins , pulling over information , all tasks taking 15 minutes when they should be touch of a button things and probably are on the demo patient laptop..

James Weems 20 March, 2023 4:40 pm

Would have been in breach of their responsibilities to get this info back to GPs within 48 hours. No mention of this?