Choice referrals in Manchester hit by IT glitch

Choose and Book referrals in Manchester last month created hundreds of duplicate patient records because of an IT glitch, a Connecting for Health adviser has admitted.

Following an upgrade to a patient administration system for Greater Manchester, which is integrated with Choose and Book, 400 referrals a day were made with duplicate medical histories.

The duplicates were created when the system failed to realise that patients already had a record.

Doctors seeing patients with duplicate records might not have had access to full clinical histories.

However, Dr Mark Davies, national clinical lead for the IT agency said an interim manual fix was imposed within 48 hours of the problem occurring, and it was permanently fixed within weeks.

‘This is a good example of a problem where early mitigation was put in place,’ he said. There was no impact in terms of GPs using Choose and Book. I am not aware of any patient  given an appointment that was not appropriate. There should have been no change to referrals.’

Dr Davies said teething problems with IT systems were inevitable: ‘It’s a reflection of the scale  of the systems out there.’

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