The go-live of a new radiology information system has caused delays at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust.

East Kent is a part of the Kent and Medway consortium of four trusts that went live with a picture archiving and communications system and RIS from GE Healthcare last week.

The three other trusts, Dartford and Gravesham, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells, and Medway, are also experiencing problems with the system.

The problems have arisen from the electronic booking of patient appointments and producing electronic reports of scans.

Patients told their local BBC station that they had waited up to four weeks for scan results, or called for appointments only to be told "We have just got no computers" by staff.

Stuart Bain, the trust chief executive, told the BBC that while the PACS implementation had gone "very well" GE Healthcare had "failed to provide an effective radiological information system [sic]."

A spokesperson from East Kent told EHI the trusts have “robust contingency plans” in place to make sure that patients can still receive x-rays and scans. Extra staff have been brought in to tackle the delays.

“East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, along with hospitals across Kent and Medway, has experienced problems with a necessary delay in implementing a new, Kent-wide electronic system for x-ray and scan results,” said the spokesperson.

“The slower, manual system inevitably caused some delays in reporting results for non-urgent scans and X-rays. Urgent and emergency patients were prioritised, which meant the delays affected non-urgent referrals.”

The trusts previously used GE Healthcare’s PACS, while the RIS was supplied by HSS. Both components were contracted under the local service provider contract for the South which was set up as part of NPfIT.

In September 2011, with the end of the national contracts coming into view, the trusts formed a consortium and went out to a collaborative tender in early 2012.

The consortium wanted a supplier which could deliver both systems, and shortlisted seven before signing a seven year contract with GE Healthcare.

The implementation of the PACS/RIS began in December last year and a spokesperson from the company said the GE had worked closely with the trusts to transfer over to the new systems.

“These installations are large and complex and there have been some teething issues,” said the spokesperson.

“The system is now in full operation and we are working very closely with the trusts to improve performance as soon as possible.”