Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust is experiencing severe difficulties with a new radiology information system from GE Healthcare.

Three weeks ago, EHI reported that patients at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust were being affected by problems with the new RIS.

Both trusts were part of a Kent and Medway consortium that was formed to find new picture archiving and communications and RIS systems ahead of the end of national contracts placed by NPfIT. GE won both the PACS and the RIS elements.

However, it emerged in July that East Kent was having problems with the RIS implementation that had resulted in delays to the electronic booking of patient appointments and the production of electronic reports of scans.

Now, Annette Schreiner, medical director of Dartford and Gravesham, has told EHI that her trust has also been affected, and that difficulties with the RIS have not been resolved.

“A planned downtime of three days extended to 17 days. During that time, the department had to resort to a paper-based system,” she said.

“The new system is slow. Catching up while processing new scans is proving extremely challenging.

“Reporting has been delayed and we have had to bring in additional administration resources to support the functioning of the department.”

Asked about the support the trust was receiving from GE, Schreiner said: “There are still many outstanding and unresolved issues.

Greater technical and applications support would no doubt help us to resolve these issues faster. But currently the system does not meet our requirements.”

East Kent’s chief executive, Stuart Bain, told EHI last week that his trust had experienced very similar problems.

“There were initial problems with data migration and, together with the slow speed of the system, this has led to significant backlogs.”

Bain told the BBC that he would be talking to GE Healthcare about its “contractual position.”

He said: "I think you can take it from me that we are very disappointed with what has gone on from 1 July right through to now in August. We’re not prepared to see it go on for very much longer."

A GE spokesperson said: “GE Healthcare is working very closely with the Kent and Medway trusts to resolve their issues with the newly-installed radiology information system.

"We know how important these tests are, together with the need for prompt clinical analysis and communication of results to patients, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that the issues are resolved in a timely manner.”