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Hospital's brand new '£1m' server room goes up in smoke

Money's too tight for air-con?

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An investigation has been launched at Leeds' famous St James' hospital after a server room disastrously overheated, permanently frying a new computer system for storing patient x-rays.

St James, known as Jimmy's locally, is run by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. It confirmed that early assessments indicate damage has occured and it has called in internal auditors.

The catastrophe hit on 9 September. Our sources say the room contained £1m worth of machines earmarked for the new Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS), part of the beleagured multi-billion pound National Programme for IT (NPfIT).

Questions have been raised by contacts at the trust as to whether the providers' advice on installing air conditioning was ignored by managers. According to this internal trust document (.DOC), PACS is the first part of the NPfIT it has implemented.

A spokesman said the trust would not be making any further statements until the audit is complete. "It would be inappropriate to comment further until that investigation has been completed and the full facts are known," he said.

The centralised digital PACS system will replace radiology films in all NHS hospitals by the end of the year, according to Connecting for Health. Jimmy's said its system was not live yet, and that patient care has not been affected by the incident. ®

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