Accident and emergency departments at two local hospitals have allegedly descended into chaos – after computer systems crashed.
IT servers at City Hospital in Winson Green and Sandwell General Hospital in West Bromwich have been down for a week, meaning essential patient data cannot be accessed.
Speaking to BirminghamLive , a senior member of staff at Sandwell General A&E said: “Computers crashed last Tuesday (October 9) afternoon and we’ve been locked out of any data ever since.
“Staff can’t access patient records or vital details. Everyone’s just wondering around the hospital because we can’t keep track of patients coming in and out.
“It’s been a nightmare and there’s been fallouts. It’s the lack of communication we’re receiving which is the most annoying thing about it all.”
Medical staff at Sandwell General Hospital have, according to our anonymous source, had to result to “Plan B”, meaning notes and medical information is being done by hand as opposed to being inputted onto computers.
He added: “Jobs that would take two minutes are now taking 20 minutes.
“We’re having to book people in by hand and the old server system is ridiculously slow.
“Ambulance staff coming in as well didn’t know what had happened so they’ve been delayed, too.
“Yesterday we had 10 patients who had waited 10 hours to be seen and, last week, patients in A&E were waiting six to seven hours on average.
“It’s had such a knock-on effect and, I reckon, 10,000 patients have been affected across the two sites here at City and Sandwell.
“We see around 300 to 400 people a day in A&E and, once the system is restored, we’ll have to punch in the details from scratch again.
“The waits are ridiculous. The Trust said the system would be back up and running in 24 hours, then they said it would be Tuesday and now they’re saying Friday. It’s chaos, it really is.”
BirminghamLive was also contacted by a 56-year-old patient from Aston who, this week, was forced to queue outside City Hospital as outpatients staff struggled with demand.
“I’ve just been at City Hospital for an appointment and people are queuing outside the doors,” he said. “I was told there’s no staff and that the PCs were down. The self check-in computers were off as well.”
Addressing concerns at both City and Sandwell Hospitals, chief executive Toby Lewis, of Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We are currently experiencing an issue with one of our servers that is impacting on our ability to access some of our IT systems.
“We are still able to see and treat patients safely.
“Clinic appointments, planned procedures and emergency care provision is continuing as normal. No patient information has been lost.”