The number of complaints against the NHS has soared after glitches in a new computer network led to increased delays, according to a report.
Problems with the Connecting for Health computer network have seen disruptions in appointments for suspected cancer sufferers, accident and emergency treatment, and scheduled operations, according to The Telegraph newspaper.
The network has been launched between a number of trusts in London, but has yet to be brought into national use.
A total of 63 patients with Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust were faced with delayed operations following problems with the system.
Last May, the same trust cancelled 272 operations for “non-clinical reasons”, and 20 patients did not receive their scheduled post-operative check-up because their care was not sufficiently well tracked.
In response, the Barnet and Chase Farm trust changed its appointments system and has had to buy a new call centre to deal with patients’ calls properly.
The figures, obtained by Computer Weekly magazine, show that over 14,000 people complained about their treatment last year, almost three times the 5,500 complaints in 2006.
A spokeswoman for Connecting for Health said: “Teething problems are to be expected. However, it is clear that the patients and clinicians are beginning to see the potential benefits of the system.”
Copyright PA Business 2008
See also: National Programme for IT? No thanks!