Appointments cancelled at Royal Preston Hospital after technical malfunction

PATIENTS with appointments at Royal Preston Hospital saw them cancelled today after a technical glitch with the computer system.

Thursday, 1st December 2016, 7:32 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 4:43 pm
Aerial view of Royal Preston Hospital

Hospital chiefs say that the issue could be fixed anytime in the next two to 24 hours so appointments booked for tomorrow may also be postponed.

The problems mean that the network has lost the ability to link all its systems together.

It has prompted fears among some that the hospital was under a cyberattack.

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But a spokesman for Lancashire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was quick to put a halt to the rumour saying that this was not the case and the technical problems pose no risk to patient safety.

The spokesman confirmed that life-saving equipment in the hospital is not affected.

In an official statement the Trust said: “This afternoon some of our IT systems have been affected by a technical component which has malfunctioned.

“We have put in place our tried and tested contingency plans to minimise disruption to ensure we can maintain services and continue to provide safe care and treatment for our patients.

“These plans are working well and there’s no risk to patient safety.

“We have postponed some outpatient clinics today and sincerely apologise to everyone whose appointment has been affected.

“We will be in touch to reschedule these appointments as soon as possible.

“A team of IT experts are currently working on the issue and we expect the system to be up and running within the next 24 hours.”

The network began to malfunction at 3.30pm this afternoon.

Bosses at the Trust said they had ‘no idea at this stage how many patient’s appointments have been cancelled’.

It is not the first time IT problems have caused the NHS to cancel appointments. Only last month, hospitals across Lincolnshire were forced to shut down major operations after a malware attack.

Hospitals in Scunthorpe and Grimsby found their IT networks had been infected at the end of October and the Lincolnshire and Goole Trust called a major emergency while the virus was dealt with.

And in September Leeds hospitals confirmed a crash in their pathology computer systems led to non-urgent appointments being postponed.