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UK heatwave linked to ongoing IT systems issues at Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust

Guy's & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust said it is working ‘around the clock’ to restore the IT systems affected by the extreme temperatures seen in the UK this week

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust confirmed it is “working around the clock” to reinstate various IT systems that have experienced “significant disruption” in the wake of this week’s extremely high temperatures in the UK.

Its technical difficulties began on Tuesday 19 July, which is the day when UK temperatures hit a record-breaking high of 40°C, with the Trust using a post on the social media site Twitter to inform patients that it was experiencing issues with its IT and telephone systems.

The situation has led to appointments being cancelled and made it difficult for patients to contact the Trust and access some of its services, as confirmed in tweets sent out by the Trust since its technical difficulties began.

Patients have also been advised to bring any letters or paperwork about their appointments, if they are still going ahead, to “reduce the risk of delays”.

In a statement on its website, the Trust said “most of our services are still running as normal” and patients are advised to still attend their appointments unless they have received a notification about them being cancelled.

The Trust is renowned for being one of the largest the NHS operates, given it comprises five main hospital sites and numerous community care facilities.

According to a report into the incident by The Guardian newspaper, the situation is the result of both of the Trust’s datacentres overheating because of the extreme temperatures the UK experienced on Tuesday, which resulted in the cooling apparatus at these sites failing.

This, in turn, has left doctors unable to remotely access patient records and test results, and meant all patient notes have had to be written by hand, the publication added.

In a statement to Computer Weekly, a spokesperson said the fallout from the incident remains ongoing and it is working hard to find a fix.

“As a result of the extreme temperatures on Tuesday, we have experienced significant disruption to our IT systems, which is having an ongoing impact on our services. While the majority of appointments have gone ahead, unfortunately, we have had to postpone some operations and appointments and we apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused,” the statement read.

“The Trust has well established business continuity plans to allow us to continue as much activity as possible and to ensure that patient safety is prioritised at all times. Our teams are working around the clock to fix these problems as soon as possible.”

The Trust is now the third organisation for which IT infrastructure was adversely affected by the heatwave, with Google and Oracle both experiencing cooling-related issues with the functioning of their UK datacentre regions earlier this week.

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