Second update May 2018
Three employees of the CCG came (Mr Campbell, Ms Baxter and Ms. Cornell) when they saw the difficulties and the way it has affected your care to help get the software working. It turned out that changes to the security settings of the web browser were needed. Dr Beerstecher is very grateful for this help, these employees have no responsibility for the problems but gave up their time to help.
It makes Dr Beerstecher very sad that he is working for an organisation (NHS) where patient care is sacrificed for achieving administrative goals and bickering, where patients are facing harm. Although Dr Beerstecher is very happy and grateful that the problems are solved for now, it is very sad that patient care is hanging by the thread of the goodwill of NHS employees.
Update May 2018
Unfortunately the fears about the NHS bullying in relation to the referrals has come to pass. Fourteen referral letters were returned yesterday with the message those patients will not be seen.
Contractually hospitals are not allowed to refuse referrals until the 1st October 2018, and Dr Beerstecher has been pleading on your behalf since October 2017 to sort the imminent problems. It really gets under the skin of Dr Beerstecher when your care is affected.
We had no meaningful support from the IT department and there were no proper instructions how to make the software work.
Update February 2018
The NHS changed the contracts for the hospitals in 2017 so that they are no longer paid for appointments from April 2018, unless the patients booked through the online booking service. The online service is slow and takes too much time, most practices signed up and were paid £10,000 but some continued to send referral letters through the post as the choose and book system failed to make hospital appointments available.
We declined initially as connecting to a 'spine' tended to crash and slow the computers, but asked for access to this booking service in 2007, 2010, 2013 and again in 2017 but have been denied on each occasion.
Until now (apart from the financial loss) there was no problem, but some hospitals have announced they will not see you unless the referral is made through the system we cannot access. This is a worrying situation, see the email chains on the right.
Update October 2016:
Dr Beerstecher ended up replacing all the computers over several weekends in August and transferring the programs, work that should have been done by the health authority, computers that should have been paid for by the health authority.
The responsibility for the computers in the practice was taken over by the Health Authority in 2004.
This was done under a new national GP contract that Dr Beerstecher voted against.
We were the first practice in Kent to change to an online electronic medical records (EMR) to store your information securely offsite.
Last year, in the latest re-disorganisation of the NHS, the responsibility for servicing the computers was transferred from NHS England (formerly the departmernt of healt) to the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG; formerly the PCT, formerly the PCG, formerly FHSA).
Dr Beerstecher still has two computers from 2004, which he refurbished himself as the upgrades offered by the health authority in 2008 were too noisy and too large for the reception desk and the doctor's desk.
In 2015 other practices were given new computers to replace the ones issued in 2008.
Due to the previous problems in 2008 Dr Beerstecher asked for just one computer to be replaced as a trial. This crashed all the other computers access to the network and Dr Beerstecher had to spend several weekends trying to work out how the health authority had disabled the operating system and put things right so we could access important information like the child protection folders. Additionally it needed more software to make the printers work, the health authority was going to throw away perfectly good equipment for the want of some free software.
You would think that the health authority would be happy that we spent all this time and effort trying to put the mess right. However, due to the transfer of the maintenance responsibility the CCG presented Dr Beerstecher with an incomprehensible contract that would prevent us from repairing problems and that would give the practice unlimited liability for billions of pounds, potentially underwriting up the whole of the NHS IT.
Dr Beerstecher does not want to sign a contract he does not understand and that leaves the practice with computers that cannot be used properly.
As retaliation threatening emails and letters were received. These also do not specify what exactly is going to happen, but potentially could lead to us not being able to access the electronic patient records we have created in the last 15 years.
This would endanger your health, as no appointments, no prescriptions and no electronic results and letters could be received or sent by the practice.
The contracts and some communications are reproduced on the right. If anyone is able to understand what the contract means, please let us know.