latest health care news


NHS Wales given damning ‘wake-up call’ over its outdated IT systems

The Welsh Assembly has published a damming “wake-up call” on efforts to modernise NHS IT systems in Wales, raising “serious question marks” over a “culture of self-censorship and denial.”

An assembly inquiry said it found that the NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS) was running primarily on outdated IT systems and questioned the “competence, capability and capacity” of the body.

In the first six months of the year, NHS Wales’ major IT systems crashed 21 times, with a programme installed in 2003 to digitise patient records already outdated and “prone to crashing.”

The report was commissioned by the National Assembly of Wales and the Public Accounts Committee, who said that whilst the Welsh Government and NWIS have accepted all the recommendations, it found “little reason to be optimistic that things were changing.”

The committee’s chair Nick Ramsay said that at a time of digital innovation, just 10% of NWIS’s activities were focused on innovation, and that those charged with taking the agenda forward were in “denial.”

Despite the “clear failing to deliver,” the auditor general found the NWIS to be “overly positive” in its progress reporting.

Ramsay declared “it’s time for a reboot,” and said he hoped the report would be a wake-up call to all those involved in harnessing the power of digital innovation to improve healthcare in Wales.

Included in the committee’s recommendations were that the NWIS requires improvement far beyond “simply pouring money” into the existing system, suggesting that additional funding needs to be tied to reorganisation.

It also recommended six monthly updates from the Welsh Government on the progress of implementing the digital recommendations of the parliamentary review and the auditor general’s report.

The report said it was “very concerned” by the evidence the committee had heard on system outages, infrastructure and resilience, and that the impact of recent outages of Cloud computing was also “deeply concerning.”

Establishing electronic patient records is one of the main projects in Wales, but the report said there were “too many cases (where) the NHS relies on outdated, paper-based records” when electronic records could lead to better patient care, and the cancer IT system CaNISC was highlighted as a particular problem.

Responding to the recommendations, NHS Confederation’s Welsh director Vanessa Young said: “The report makes uncomfortable reading, but reflects the frustration that exists across the NHS over delays in delivering an electronic patient record, as well as concerns about the resilience of core systems.

“It should come as no surprise that the NHS in Wales and NWIS have been struggling to provide the quality of service and the pace of innovation required when the governance and funding has not been in place to enable that to happen.”

 Image credit - sturti

Enjoying NHE? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us throu more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News


NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental ... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >


Mike Farrar, Swim England - Last Word

07/12/2019Mike Farrar, Swim England - Last Word

Mike Farrar Chairperson of Swim England Would you talk us through... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

Too much emphasis on leadership development… and not enough

24/02/2020Too much emphasis on leadership development… and not enough

Words by Dean Royles and Kevan Taylor, who continue their regular contribution to NHE’s blog content. Kevan and Dean work in organisations and systems providing strategi... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >