`

Wigan Infirmary hails success of new IT system

Dr Shariq Ahmed consultant and Mary Fleming are pleased with the IT improvements
Dr Shariq Ahmed consultant and Mary Fleming are pleased with the IT improvements

A fresh roll-out of a new IT system in Wigan Infirmary’s A&E department has been successful so far, according to hospital bosses.

Last year Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust halted the introduction of the software after it caused more problems than expected in A&E, including contributing to a rise in waiting times for patients.

But changes were made to the Health Information System (HIS) and it was reintroduced just over two weeks ago.

Despite some issues, the system is now up and running.

Dr Shariq Ahmed, clinical director in A&E, told the Post: “It was reintroduced on September 19 and it has been going well. There are always a few glitches. There have been two occasions where it’s gone down for an hour or so, but that’s to be expected. Since then it’s been working well.”

He said the staff engagement team had run surveys to find out what people wanted from the system and changes had been made.

The new system was “way better, way slicker and way faster”, he said.

Changes had to be made to the system as it contributed to major delays when it was first implemented last year.

The target is for 95 per cent of patients to be seen within four hours, but the A&E’s performance dropped to around 75 per cent when the system was introduced.

Chief executive Andrew Foster apologised for the longer waiting times and the system was switched off in December, but was still used in other departments.

Mary Fleming, director of operations and performance, said: “Last time it was an all-singing, all-dancing system, it ticked everybody’s boxes.”

But that did not mean it was the perfect system for the A&E unit.

She continued: “All it did was add about an hour into the time it took to get a patient through A&E. When you are working in four-hour windows, you can’t afford to lose an hour in A&E.

“Dr Ahmed and his team have been away and redesigned it. What’s gone back in is much better.”

Ms Fleming said the IT system had to be upgraded as the previous one was no longer being supported.

The new IT system is designed to support safer, faster and more efficient care for patients.

It supports a full electronic patient record across the trust, prescriptions can be managed electronically and patient information can flow quickly and safely throughout the organisation.

Medical staff will be able to access patients’ health records quickly, wherever they are.