An investigation has been launched after a whistleblower spoke out about their experience working in IT at the NHS offices in Bamber Bridge, claiming patients were impacted by poor systems and processes.Advertisement
The whistleblower, who wishes to remain anonymous, worked at Ribble House where the Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust IT department is based, between 2019 and 2020.
During this time, they say they witnessed a lack of individual responsibility in resolving issues, which affected Trust staff’s ability to do their jobs.
They told Blog Preston: “I came across countless people who were ringing IT for help for the second or third time in a day. Nurses and doctors would be unable to write their notes for days on end because their computer wasn’t working for issues that would take a minute to fix. Staff were sent on to site for two-minute fixes that could have been done at home.
“One example that stands out is a nurse who was calling for the fourth time and said ‘thank f*** I got through to you’ when I answered. On her previous three attempts she’d spoken to the same person who had just fobbed her off.
“As a result, she had missed an appointment with a child with mental health problems. It turned out the issue could have been fixed in five minutes.”
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The whistleblower also claimed that repeated performance issues failed to be dealt with by management.
According to the whistleblower, issues were also caused by sub-standard training and a lack of awareness of how the IT service could ultimately impact on patients.
“Nobody really knew what systems they should be dealing with, as we were not trained. The guides on how to do things were convoluted and no one used them. None of it gave an impression of an effective IT department.
“The team also didn’t relate what they were doing with the patients, and they weren’t encouraged to do so either.
“They didn’t talk to other teams, they didn’t learn about other departments, and ultimately they were so devolved from the patient that they didn’t even realise the impact their work had when it was done badly.”
As well as a lack of training and understanding around IT processes, the whistleblower said the age of the software being used in the Trust caused problems.
“One of the biggest IT-related issues, which was mentioned every single day, was the outdated software, notably WinDIP.
“This software was used by nearly everyone in the Trust for accessing patient files, etc. but it was slow, unreliable and frequently crashed. The amount of staff time it consumed was ridiculous.
“The Trust have been saying it would be changed and updated for years.”
Before leaving, the whistleblower gave feedback on their experience to the Trust.
A spokesperson for Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust told Blog Preston in response to the claims: “We have a range of ways for people to provide feedback that while they work at the Trust either in person or anonymously, to support this so we thank this individual for raising concerns.
“We have an investigation underway to look into their concerns and if there are issues that need to be addressed, people can be assured that improvements will be made.”
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