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Reminder: your password will expire in 3…2…1…

What must it be like for a system error to lock you out of a system that you’re only trying to access as a favour to bail out those running the system, who acknowledge that the system isn’t, er, running? Bloody annoying. I know, because I was one of the hundreds who couldn’t access CQRS the other day. Those of us with passwords discovered more or less simultaneously that those passwords had expired, not through the usual channel of being sent a reminder – hilariously, planet CQRS had assumed we’d all spontaneously realise the password-changing significance of day 180 – but by screaming down the helpline, ‘What the f*** is going on?’

Hats off, then, to my online helper, who remained calm and professional throughout, while obviously being acutely embarrassed about the whole thing. Such was his constructive good humour that we even ended up having a mutually supportive chuckle over this computing car-crash.

But it may all seem a little less funny in a few months time. We’re manually uploading because, remember, CQRS needs more time to ‘successfully deliver the QOF 2013/14 extractions.’ Which, when you think about it, is a chilling comment.

After all, this isn’t the penny numbers of shingles vaccine or even the few thousand quid of the flu campaign. QOF is a whacking great part of our income, earmarked, in our practice, to pay an equally whacking great tax bill.

If they get that wrong, it won’t be the helpline we’ll be phoning – it’ll be the Samaritans.

 Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can email him at and follow him on Twitter @DocCopperfield.