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Macmillan calls for urgent action following major NHS Wales IT infrastructure failings

Macmillan Wales has called for urgent action following a number of major incident failings in NHS Wales’ IT systems that could put cancer patients at risk.

The call comes in response to a letter from the Auditor General for Wales to the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly, which questions the resilience of NHS Wales’ IT systems following a number of ‘major incident’ failures over the last 12 months.

 

This includes the CaNISC system which is used to manage cancer treatment waiting times and patient appointments, support multi-disciplinary teams in providing care and to support cancer research across Wales.

 

Commenting on the failures, Richard Pugh, Head of Services for Macmillan in Wales said:

 

“We are now aware of a number of incidents affecting the availability of national clinical information systems, without which cancer care professionals are simply not able to perform their routine clinical tasks effectively.

 

“So much of what the NHS does relies on the reliability and resilience of its IT systems – when those systems break down there is an immediate and negative impact on patient safety and care.

 

“We fully support the Auditor General’s call for a full and transparent investigation into these system failures, and we hope that any underlying and systemic problems are dealt with as a matter of the utmost urgency.  We believe there is now a very real case to be made for the upgrading of the existing CaNISC system to be prioritised.

 

“Only recently the Welsh Government published its plan to create a seamless health and social care system – failure to provide the robust IT infrastructure needed to underpin this will quickly undermine any such ambition.

 

“What we need to see now is an urgent response to current issues, and a much firmer funding commitment for developing an IT infrastructure that is fit for purpose and capable of delivering Wales’ vision for what patient care will look like in the future.”