- Error in IT system means more than 10,000 prescriptions were not cancelled, creating “the potential for incorrect or inappropriate medication”.
- Separate error in the same system means 20,000 patient records not updated
- IT supplier says they are not aware of any patients coming to harm
An error in an IT system used by thousands of GP practices means patients around the country could have been given the wrong medication.
A paper that went to the board of NHS Digital on Wednesday records two ongoing “clinical safety incidents” in one of the two major GP IT systems used in England.
On 14 August, an error was uncovered whereby repeated prescriptions that were cancelled using TPP’s SystmOne software were not cancelled on other systems, such as those used by community pharmacists.
The paper states: “The clinical impact has been assessed as major due to the potential for the incorrect or inappropriate medication being provided to patients.”
A separate failure was identified three days later whereby updates made to patients’ records using SystmOne were not transferred to their summary care record, a national system for providing high level information about patients to any clinician involved in their care.
“The clinical impact has been assessed as significant as a clinician may be working with incomplete or out-of-date patient information, which may result in inappropriate care being provided.”
As of 12 September, both errors were “ongoing”, the paper said, but in both instances, GPs have been informed of the affected patients.
Responding to questions from HSJ, a TPP spokeswoman said the first error meant 10,053 prescriptions across 330 practices that should have been cancelled were not cancelled.
Some of them stretched back to 2010 when a change was made to the electronic prescribing system in the software.
“This was not a universal issue. The problem was limited to a small subset of prescriptions. This could only happen in a particular, complex scenario,” the spokeswoman said.
The second error had affected 24,038 patients’ summary care records across 2,423 practices.
The spokeswoman said the company was not aware of any patients coming to harm as a result of either error.
Both errors have been fixed and the company was working with GP practices to ensure any incorrect prescriptions or records were corrected.
An NHS Digital spokeswoman said the agency was working with the company and declined to comment further.
SystmOne holds the GP records of tens of millions of NHS patients and, combined with the other major primary care IT supplier Emis, covers 95 per cent of all GP practices in England.
In July, HSJ revealed that 150,000 patients had had their confidential GP records shared against their wishes over more than three years due to an error in SystmOne.
NHS Digital manages the national contract framework with TPP and other suppliers of GP IT, which is due to be replaced from next summer.
NHS officials are hoping the new framework will promote more competition and innovation in the GP IT market.