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NHS news in brief

Our weekly round-up of news in brief

NHS IT system suffers setbacks
The government's £6.8bn NHS IT upgrade programme suffered 110 ìmajorî technical breakdowns in the last four months, according to a report in Computer Weekly magazine. Many of the problems, which affected dozens of hospitals, related to viewing digitalised x-rays and software for organising patient appointments. The most serious incident was triggered by a fire in a national data centre in Maidstone, Kent in July. A spokeswoman for NHS Connecting for Health, the agency responsible for the project, described the glitches as ìunfortunateî but said the figures were misleading because hospitals were entitled to describe a breakdown as a 'major incident' even if it only caused a brief delay. The programme aims to link more than 30,000 GPs to nearly 300 hospitals by 2014 and includes an online booking system, centralised medical records for 50 million patients and communications for electronic prescriptions.

Patients and public don't see eye to eye in NHS satisfaction ratings
Patients regularly report much higher levels of satisfaction with health services than the public as a whole, according to the NHS Confederation. In a new report, titled Lost in Translation, the organisation said statistics showed that public satisfaction ratings for services including walk-in centres, NHS Direct and in- and outpatient services, are consistently lower than the ratings given by patients. ìThe public has become distrustful when confronted with evidence of improvement in the NHS,î said NHS Confederation policy director, Nigel Edwards. ìIt would seem that disenchantment with the government translates into scepticism about the service.î

30th September 2008

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