IT connectivity issues at a southern trust have caused disrupted access to electronic patient record and compromised patient care, CQC says.
The Care Quality Commission’s latest report into Solent NHS Trust revealed problems with IT connectivity, duplicate recording, delays in reporting and access to information, all which compromise patient care.
The CQC said the community trust’s “IT connectivity problems and pressures on staff time meant there were risks of delayed recording and a possibility for incomplete records”.
These connectivity issues “directly impacted upon the safe and effective response to patient care”.
Other issues with the IT were duplicate records in paper and electronic formats; GP based staff not being able to access the trust’s electronic system; and variable access to information when out in the community, said the report.
The CQC report also noted that bank nurses did not have password access to the EPR, which contravened information governance principles and the nursing and midwifery code of practice.
In a statement provided to Digital Heath News the trust’s chief information officer Simon Sturgeon said: “Solent had an ageing network, server and desktop equipment estate that originated from multiple legacy organisations when the trust was formed.”
He said at the time of the inspection, from 27 to 30 June, “the work to replace the previous infrastructure was only in its initial phase of replacing the network infrastructure and migrating staff to the new environment with new end user devices”.
Solent is currently in the middle of a network replacement programme that should be completed in March, 2017.
Sturgeon said that bank staff are now pre-registered and trained to access the trust’s systems, and have access before their shift begins.
The trust’s November board papers listed three “business critical incidents” relating to ICT and Transformation, which Sturgeon said were “network related and part of a pattern referred to by the CQC”.
This included a failed Windows security update resulting in “loss of a ‘trust’ to one of our legacy domains”, an “error on a legacy domain controller”, and changes to firewall configuration.
Another board paper reveals that on 13 September the trust suffered a “significant IT outage". Sturgeon said this was because of an issue with one of the core network switches, meaning that staff “experienced difficulties in accessing the EPR system for part of the day”. It was resolved on the same day.
Sturgeon said many of these problems would be fixed in the next few months.
The trust uses TPP’s Systm1 as its primary system and R4 Dental and Inform for dental and sexual health services respectively.
A spokesperson from TPP said the login and IT connectivity problems were not related to the company’s product.
The CQC report, published 15 November, gave the overall rating as “required improvement”.
In a statement given to stakeholders on the day of the CQC results, Sue Harriman, the trust’s chief executive said: “Whilst there is so much to be proud of, there is a lot of learning for us within the reports. During the inspection we were made aware of a number of areas for improvement.”
Solent is one of the largest community providers in the NHS.
Sturgeon said: “The trust believes that the core issues with technology are addressed by the work which is already underway.”