Leeds hospitals IT problems could last until next week

The Clarendon Wing at the LGI.
The Clarendon Wing at the LGI.
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IT troubles at Leeds Teaching Hospitals could carry on in to next week.

The NHS Trust has had to postpone appointments and surgery because of problems with its pathology IT system.

Some patients visiting their GP for blood tests were also affected and the Trust was also left unable to report on some patients’ test results.

So far 101 procedures have had to be postponed as result of the problems but urgent, emergency and cancer procedures have continued, the Trust said.

It added that improvements are due early next week and it is “extremely sorry”.

Because the Trust has been asking clinicians to prioritise only urgent and emergency requests, there are now around 8,000-10,000 blood tests in the system which are being worked through.

That is the number it would normally expect to carry out in 24 hours. The Trust said it is starting to reduced that number now that it has cleared all urgent requests.

Pathology services that are affected by the issue are blood bank and transfusion, haematology, biochemistry and microbiology.

Suzanne Hinchliffe, Chief Nurse and Deputy Chief Executive at Leeds Teaching Hospitals said: “We are making good progress in tackling the serious issues affecting our ability to deliver a full pathology service.

“The situation is challenging but improving and we expect to be able to report improvement early next week after we have tested the work undertaken with our external partners to restore our system.

“Currently, we are working with our GP colleagues, asking them to prioritise urgent tests and the plan is that from Tuesday next week GPs will be able to request routine blood tests using other providers as a contingency measure until we are back up and running.

“GPs have not been asked to refrain from sending all bloods, we have asked them to prioritise clinically and refrain from sending routine bloods.

“Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which also uses the LTHT pathology service, is also using other providers for their blood testing.

“In our hospitals, to maintain patient safety, we are still asking clinicians to prioritise urgent blood tests and we are managing a full blood testing service for emergency cases.

“All known urgent blood tests sent to our pathology department have now been analysed and reported.

“There is an inevitable impact on routine non-urgent procedures for patients and for this we are very sorry but patient safety remains our top priority.

“We have had to postpone 101 patients’ procedures as a result of problems with the pathology IT system.

“We have continued to provide urgent, emergency and cancer procedures.

“We have made general information available to patients and the public using our website and have contacted patients who are affected directly to explain the situation, apologise and make alternative arrangements.

“Patients who have not been contacted by their GP or by the hospital should turn up for scheduled appointments

“We recognise that it is taking a significant time to resolve but this is a very complex system.

“Our IT team and external partners have been working around the clock to bring the system back up to full functionality as quickly as possible.

“It is now critical to conduct proper testing. This is the right thing to do to ensure patient safety.

“We are extremely sorry that this has affected our patients and also our partners in health and social care.

“The safety of our patients is always our number one priority.

“The decision to postpone appointments is not taken lightly and we recognise the inconvenience and upset this causes for our patients.”