RCGP Wales says the findings of a report on IT in the Welsh NHS demonstrates the need to improve digital technology

Publication date: 08 November 2018

Responding to a new report on the state of IT in the Welsh NHS, RCGP Wales has said its publication needs to "kickstart a process that improves digital technology in the Welsh NHS."

Responding to a new report on the state of IT in the Welsh NHS, RCGP Wales has said its publication needs to "kickstart a process that improves digital technology in the Welsh NHS."

The College has said data outages "can be extraordinarily disruptive", putting practices and patients in a difficult environment.

The National Assembly for Wales' Public Accounts Committee has published a report entitled 'Informatics Systems in NHS Wales'. The report's findings include:

  • 21 NHS Wales data outages in the first 6 months of 2018 – one every 9 days
  • A slow pace of delivery of modern informatics systems across the NHS in Wales
  • Delays in the delivery of electronic patient records, risking making it outdated by the time it is achieved

Dr Peter Saul, RCGP Wales Joint Chair, said:

"Quite clearly this report raises some alarming findings about the weaknesses of IT in the Welsh NHS, findings which may look familiar to those working in it.

"Today, IT systems are as critical to clinicians as stethoscopes and scanners. Data outages can be extraordinarily disruptive for practices and for patients. They affect appointments, prescriptions and the nuts and bolts of a functioning practice and can take hours to recover from. Unfortunately these data outages are becoming all too common, leaving GPs scrambling to find solutions or workarounds while waiting rooms fill up.

"Embracing safe, reliable and innovative technology will be vital for the future of healthcare, but that will be undermined if the Welsh NHS cannot get its IT right. Whether it's the basics like appointment booking, or larger projects such as electronic prescribing or electronic patient records, we need IT that works.
 
"This report needs to kickstart a process that improves digital technology in the Welsh NHS, supporting and enabling practices to offer improved services for patients."

Dr Saul also highlighted the impact that IT migrations will have for many practices:

"It's also important to remember that many GP practices will soon be having to change the software they use in their practice, following NHS Wales' tendering process earlier in the year. This will add further disruption to the wider issues the report has identified, and the College is re-iterating its call for the Welsh Government to ensure practices get the support they need."

Further Information

Louis Urruty
RCGP Wales Policy and Public Affairs Officer
0203 188 7767 / 07341 737034

Notes to editor

The Royal College of GPs Wales represents a network of around 2,000 GPs, aiming to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on resources, education, training, research and clinical standards.

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