Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry, Northern Ireland was left unable to make bookings for 48 hours last week due to ‘a combination of hardware and software problems’ with their iSoft patient administration system (PAS).

The system could not access the appointments database to make bookings for two days – Wednesday and Thursday – last week, staff were still able to access patient records.

In a statement, the hospital confirmed to E-Health Insider: “Due to a combination of hardware and software problems, one of the main computer systems at Altnagelvin Area Hospital was unavailable over a two-day period last week.

“This had an impact on the booking of patients for future outpatient appointments, but had no effect on those patients attending for inpatient and outpatient treatment on the affected days. Availability of clinical records for patient treatment and consultation remained unaffected by the computer problems.”

An iSoft spokesperson said: "There was a third party hardware fault outside of our contract and at no point was there any issue with the software. As this was purely a hardware issue it was passed by the NHS team in Northern Ireland to HP to rectify given that we have no direct responsibility for the server.

"iSoft has no control or ownership for this aspect of the system. We did work with HP to ensure the hardware platform was repaired and restored in a timely manner and we restored the application to minimise disruption to the hospital and patients."

The hospital told EHI that the system is working again now, although a press spokesperson was unable to confirm the exact problems which caused the system to break down for two days.

All patients who needed to rebook an operation will be recalled over the coming days, and the trust will write to them personally to express their regret.

“Arrangements are now in place to ensure that those appointments, which could not be offered at the time, are now being agreed with patients," said the spokesperson.

“The trust apologises to patients and clients for any inconvenience that may have been caused.”

Altnagelvin Area Hospital is the main hospital for the Derry region, offering acute services to the people of the entire County Londonderry, as well as Tyrone as well as parts of Donegal and Antrim.

The trust says that services were not affected and there is no danger to patient records or any scheduled consultations.