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Hospitals see big rise in complaints
THE number of complaints at Oxford’s hospitals almost doubled following the introduction of a new electronic records system.
The Oxford University Hospitals Trust (OUH) reported the leap in complaints from December to January this year.
Hospital chiefs rolled out the new Electronic Patient Record (EPR) system at the John Radcliffe, Churchill and Horton hospitals throughout December.
At the time, patients experienced a host of problems including ambulances queueing outside accident and emergency at the JR at the weekend as staff struggled to book patients in.
According to trust board papers, 102 new complaints were received in January, compared to 52 the previous month – a rise of 96 per cent.
Figures for February have not yet been released.
In January 2011, the trust received 68 complaints.
Throughout January the Patient Advice and Liaison Services (PALS) service also received up to 50 calls a day, double the average for previous months.
The report presented to the OUH board of directors said: “The main issues which caused frustration were not being able to contact departments by telephone and not being able to leave a voice message. This may have coincided with the introduction of the new electronic patient administration system.”
The trust said the findings of the report had been passed on to divisions across the hospital so action could be taken to address the concerns.
The £15.7m electronic database is designed to contain patient records including medical history, details of past operations and appointments on one system.
Its introduction was delayed twice in November as the trust tried to prepare and train staff. But in January it emerged there were still significant problems with patients trying to contact the Patient Contact Centre, a system that is used to book appointments.
Some patients were left waiting for up to an hour on the phone for their calls to be answered.
Last night the OUH said some disruption was down to staff sickness and added that extra workers had been drafted in to ease the transition.
A spokesman added that the electronic system was now working much better after the initial ‘bedding down period’.
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