Feeds

IT upgrade confuses child jab programme

MMR muddle

High performance access to file storage

An overhaul in NHS IT systems has been accompanied by a possible fall in child vaccination rates. As part of a £6.8bn upgrade to health service IT systems in the UK, 10 of 31 London health care trusts have installed software to manage child jab programmes.

The software was designed to help hospitals to manage the delivery of MMR and "five-in-one" jabs (which offers protection against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio and Hib disease). But only two of the hospitals where the technology has been installed has been able to supply figures on vaccination uptakes. These limited statistics show update rates dropping by up to 19 per cent for the five-in-one jab and a 10 per cent slip in MMR vaccinations over the last year. Even worse, data is missing on 50,000 children. This lack of accurate information leaves doctors unable to manage appointments and to send out reminders for follow-up jabs.

The Health Protection Agency is investigating the apparent fall in child vaccination rates in London which it warns may constitute a "major public health threat". It qualifies the warning by noting that without accurate information it is impossible to determine if child jab rates have actually dropped.

"It is by no means certain whether they are true falls in coverage over the last year or if indeed, they just reflect data quality problems relating to the implementation of the new child health systems," HPA immunisation expert Natasha Crowcroft told the BBC.

A spokesman for NHS Connecting for Health acknowledged problems with the new software but said the upgrade had become necessary after the NHS's previous supplier had withdrawn support for the previous system, which had become obsolete. The alternative to an upgrade would have been to do without computer systems at all, which "would have been far worse," he added.

The vaccination snafu is the latest in a long line of difficulties afflicting the upgrade in NHS IT systems. The 10-year scheme to bring UK IT systems into the 21st century, which is been administered by UK government agency NHS Connecting for Health, has already been criticised for overrunning costs and falling behind schedule. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
Singapore decides 'three strikes' laws are too intrusive
When even a prurient island nation thinks an idea is dodgy it has problems
Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit
Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
Reprieve for Weev: Court disowns AT&T hacker's conviction
Appeals court strikes down landmark sentence
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.