Northern Care Alliance relying on robust contingency plans following IT system difficulties

The Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust has been experiencing disruption and instabilities in some of its digital IT clinical systems since Wednesday 18 May.

The Royal Oldham Hospital, Fairfield General Hospital in Bury and Rochdale Infirmary (run by the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust), as well as North Manchester General Hospital (run by MFT), have been experiencing significant IT issues, causing some disruption to services, the trust stated on Tuesday 24 May 2022.

The trust has relied on ‘robust contingency plans’, however, the hospitals are now needing to use paper processes and records, which the trust said is resulting in “slowing down some services and creating some delays”.

Dr Chris Brookes, Deputy CEO and Chief Medical Officer for the Northern Care Alliance NHS Trust said: “We are still working hard to resolve the significant IT issues that have been affecting some of our digital systems at our hospitals at Oldham, Bury and Rochdale, as well as North Manchester General Hospital. Salford Royal is unaffected. This means that our clinical teams are continuing to rely on our robust contingency plans for such critical incidents.”

The disruption highlights the high stakes for digital teams when it comes to IT systems, with Royal Oldham Hospital highlighting pressures on its A&E department, and is asking people to think carefully before attending and to visit NHS 111 online if they have an urgent medical problem they are not sure about.

The Northern Care Alliance say that they are carefully managing disruption to limit the impact on patients, and their digital IT team are investigating the issues with the technology providers.

Dr Brookes added, “Patient safety and maintaining essential services remains our priority.”

Patient records and personal data held by the NHS remain secure and unaffected by the disruption.