Fresh glitch crashes hospital lab’s IT system

Cork University Hospital has had to apologise again after another IT glitch crashed its laboratory computer system.

The latest fault in the system — which was crippled for several weeks last August — occurred on Wednesday morning and brought the system down for most of the day. IT staff responded immediately and managed to fully restore the system by the evening.

But while the system was down, laboratory staff had to report results manually and urgent tests were processed before those classed as routine or non urgent.

“CUH management apologised to service users for any delays experienced,” the HSE said last night. “Hospital management also extended their thanks to staff and all parties who worked to urgently resolve the issue and restore the system.”

The centralised computer system supports services at CUH, Kerry General, Mallow General, Bantry General, and the Mercy Hospital’s blood transfusion lab.

Last August the IT system was hit by a major technical fault which lasted several weeks, forcing lab staff to process tests manually and work extra hours to cope with the backlog.

The problems persisted until mid-September when it emerged CUH management had been warned about the system’s shortcomings two years earlier.

The HSE insisted last night however, that there have been no technical issues since those experienced in September.

A spokesperson said additional monitoring was put in place at the time which has worked well, and which helped identify Wednesday’s technical issues at the “earliest opportunity”.

“The issue was identified by the additional monitoring arrangements in place in CUH and the hospital’s ICT department worked with the system supplier to restore the system as quickly as possible. The system was fully restored by evening,” she said.

“Contingency arrangements were put in place to continue to provide the required essential diagnostic services to the hospital departments, GPs, and other community services, all of whom were informed of the technical issues.”

It is understood that the HSE has given approval to invest €400,000 in the system.


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