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Patient care fears over Dunedin Hospital computer crash

Published: 6:33PM Tuesday February 25, 2014 Source: ONE News

An embarrassing computer crash at Dunedin Hospital has sparked claims of patient care being compromised.

IT problems have plagued the hospital for the past two days affecting emails and some patient services, with Labour blaming the crash on Government "cost-cutting pressures".

Prime Minister John Key, who was in Dunedin today to open the hospital's new neonatal intensive care unit, faced the heat over the system glitches.

Mr Key said that "pretty much anyone who deals with a computer system will know that at some point they break down".

Dunedin Hospital was quick to dismiss any talk of risks to patients.

"There has been some inconvenience in one or two of the outpatient areas but we've had no elective surgery cancelled and as far as we've been able to do it's been business as normal," said Richard Bunton of Southern DHB.

But Labour Associate Health spokesman David Clark said the outage was unacceptable.

"Patient care has been compromised, there's no doubt, radiation treatment didn't happen yesterday, there have been other monitoring mechanisms that are in place that just simply weren't working.

"The Government's funded under the cost of inflation for the whole time they've been in Government, those cost-cutting pressures are now starting to work their way through the system."

Mr Key said the Government would continue to listen to health concerns in the south.

"In terms of the DHB, the Government put about $24 million into capital works here, part of which is the neonatal unit," he said. "It's clear that over time more money will need to be spent and we'll consider those applications when they bring them to the Government."

The IT system was restored this afternoon and the hospital promised a thorough review to ensure it wouldn't happen again.