London 999 Computer System Hit By Outage

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London Ambulance Service staff were forced to revert to pen and paper, following the failure of a 999 system

The London Ambulance Service (LAS) has revealed that staff manning the 999 system were forced to revert to using pen and paper after the failure of a new computer system on Wednesday.

The incident occurs as the NHS is fending off criticism about the security of its computer networks, following the alleged theft of network administration passwords by the hacker group Lulzsec.

‘Technical issues’

The ambulance service in a notice on its website said “technical issues” had arisen during the implementation of a new 999 computer system on Wednesday morning.

The system was out of commission until Thursday, when the service reverted to its earlier system.

“In the interim we used our manual system for managing 999 calls, which involved recording calls on paper and passing information to ambulance crews over the radio,” the service stated. “At all times during this process our priority was to answer all incoming 999 calls, and get an appropriate response to those patients with the most serious illnesses and injuries.”

‘Comprehensive review’

The LAS said it would be conducting a comprehensive review into the failure.

The NHS has faced increasing criticism in recent months on a number of fronts, including the failure of the £12.7 billion National Programme for IT project (NPfIT). The Independent found last year that just 160 health organisations out of about 9,000 are using electronic patient records delivered under the scheme.

Also last year the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said that the NHS had been responsible for almost a third of all recorded data breaches in the United Kingdom for the previous three years.

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