The Care Quality Commission has lost more than 26,000 hours of staff time due to IT issues in the last year, board papers have revealed.

It’s estimated the loss of staff time has cost the watchdog £679,399.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) revealed in its November board papers that 26,835 staff hours had been lost to IT issues in the 12 months to September 2019.

In 2019 to date, some 14,556 hours of staff time had been lost, costing an estimated £358,733.

The time lost to IT problems was calculated from staff timesheets in three operational services: adult social care, primary medical services and hospitals, the CQC told Digital Health News.

The timesheets require staff to outline the cause of their time constraints, choosing from options including “resolving IT issues, calling the service desk, and performing IT upgrades”.

A spokesperson for the CQC said the time lost was due to planned IT upgrades and therefore expected: “This time invested is necessary to implement the changes needed for long term productivity.

The biggest spike in time and money lost to IT issues came in June 2019, when 4,476 hours of staff time were wasted, costing about £101,440.

The lowest was recorded in March 2019, with 923 hours of staff time reported as lost, costing an estimated £24,182.

A spokesperson added: “In the last two months we’ve completed some major technology upgrades. We’ve migrated 3,500 people over to Office 365 and Microsoft Teams, over 2,000 people onto Microsoft Teams and Office 365 on mobile and over 14 million documents from a legacy system onto SharePoint.

“This has been a success but has necessarily required colleagues to spend time upgrading mobile phones (one hour each) and spending time learning the new systems, which will have caused more time to be spent on IT.

“We are investing in IT to ensure that our inspectors have the tools they need to do their jobs as effectively as possible. However, any change to new systems requires investing time in that change.”

The CQC’s annual state of care report, published in October, highlighted cost as a key barrier in the way of adopting new technology. Staff also highlighted concerns about the ability of existing IT infrastructures to support new technologies.

The independent regulator encouraged health and social care providers to “consider technology in the broader strategic sense, as an enabler of high-quality care”.