The Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust has confirmed it has been experiencing “disruption and instability issues” with some of its IT systems.
The trust has stated that is has been experiencing problems since 18 May 2022 with a number of its hospital sites effected.
An investigation by Northern Care Alliance’s digital team and the technology providers is currently underway.
In a statement, Dr Chris Brookes, deputy CEO and chief medical officer for the Northern Care Alliance NHS Trust said that “all patient records and personal data held by the NHS and trust remains secure and unaffected”.
He added: “We are still working hard to resolve the significant IT issues that have been affecting some of our digital systems at our hospitals at Oldham, Bury and Rochdale, as well as North Manchester General Hospital which is run by Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. Salford Royal is unaffected.
“This means that our clinical teams are continuing to rely on our robust contingency plans for such critical incidents.
“Patient safety and maintaining essential services remains our priority. We are doing everything we can to fix the IT issues and to limit disruption to patients and our services. However, unfortunately some patients may experience some delays and additional waiting across some of our services such as outpatient appointments, diagnostic tests or scans. We apologise for this.”
Those with hospital appointments, whether that is planned surgery or outpatients, are being advised to continue to attend unless they are told otherwise by the trust directly.
Furthermore, patients in the Greater Manchester area are being asked to ‘think carefully’ before visiting the trust’s emergency department.
“We would, as always, recommend that you contact NHS 111 or seek advice from your local pharmacy or GP,” Dr Brookes added.
While details surrounding which systems have caused the problems, according to Digital Health Intelligence, the newly renamed Altera Digital Health is the trust’s EPR provider while its PACS system is powered by Sectra.
Altera has confirmed to Digital Health News that the EPR system that is live in Salford Royal is unaffected and not a cause of the problems.
Paula Ridd, general manager for the UK & Ireland at Altera Digital Health said: “The Altera Digital Health system is fully operational at Salford. As always, we are ready to support the Trust in any way we can as it works with other suppliers to address the matter.”
In an update, Northern Care Alliance confirmed several of its critical clinical and digital systems are inaccessible for staff across Oldham, Bury and Rochdale.
“North Manchester General Hospital, which is run by Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, is also affected,” a Q&A states.
“The issues means that staff, including those at Salford Royal, can’t access clinical information or diagnostic tests online.”
The Q&A, posted on May 26, also confirms that “some critical systems are back online now for viewing purposes only, however staff are not inputting data onto the systems at this stage”.
The trust also confirms that it does not believe the incident is “related to any malware or hacking incident”.