Scottish NHS Board finds fix for two-day IT glitch, but cause remains unknown

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The "major IT problem" that blighted Scotland's largest NHS board, leading to hundreds of outpatient appointments being postponed over the last two days, has been fixed.

The NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) board has confirmed it's plugged the networking problem which affected the way staff accessed the organisation's clinical and administrative systems.

Although 709 patient episodes have had to be postponed, our staff were able to see some 10,000 patients using manual backup systems.

The public sector organisation's IT team enlisted the help of NHS suppliers Microsoft and Charteris to help forge the fix.

The organisation said it is still unsure what caused the issue, which resulted in the postponement of 599 outpatient appointments, 62 inpatient procedures and 48 chemotherapy treatments over the past two days.

However, Robert Calderwood, CEO of NHSGGC, was able to shed some light on the technologies affected by this "unprecedented IT issue".

"The situation is that, as users log on they go through a system called Microsoft Active Directory, a router system which recognises users and allows individual access to our clinical and administrative support systems," said Calderwood.

"This was corrupted over the weekend, which became apparent when staff logged on to the system on Tuesday after the holiday weekend."

NHSGGC said it is now working closely with Microsoft to get to the root cause of the problem.

Despite the postponed appointments, the board said no data had been lost as a result of the technical glitch, and that more than 10,000 patient appointments have proceeded as normal during the last couple of days.

As a result, Calderwood went on to praise the work of the firm's clinical and IT staff for keeping many other patient services up and running during this period of downtime.

"Although 709 patient episodes have had to be postponed, our staff were able to see some 10,000 patients using manual backup systems," said Calderwood.

"I can also report today that some of the patients affected have already been re-appointed and will be seen in the next few days. Arrangements are now being made to ensure that all the other patients affected will be offered a re-appointment as quickly as is possible."

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.