Published: 15/12/2005 Volume 115 No. 5986 Page 7

Hospital trusts were forced to revert to paper-based back-up systems to admit patients this week after the blast at the Buncefield oil refinery severely damaged the head office of Northgate Information Solutions.

The IT company, based near the site of the blast, operates hospital information systems for three acute trusts in the area.

Cambridge University Hospitals foundation trust, Papworth Hospital foundation trust, and James Paget Healthcare trust were all forced to use paper records after their IT systems were damaged.

A spokesperson for Cambridge University Hospitals foundation trust told HSJ that the trust's hospital information system had been 'destroyed' in the blast and would take more than a week to restore.

The blaze also affected the Health and Social Care Information Centre which collects data on hospital episode statistics. A statement from the IT company confirmed that: 'Northgate's ability to service its customers has been temporarily affected'.