Northamptonshire NHS governor says email system problems have caused patients to miss appointments

Northamptonshire Healthcare NHSNorthamptonshire Healthcare NHS
Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS
A governor of an NHS trust in Northamptonshire says failures with the national NHS email system has led to patients missing psychiatric appointments.

William Miller, one of the governors of the Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, says the email system the NHS uses does not work properly with certain email domains.

People with Virgin Media or NTL World email addresses are not receiving all emails sent out by the NHS trust.

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Mr Miller said: “During the last six months the failure of the NHS email system to interact properly with certain email domains for example NTL World and Virgin Media has led to serious breakdowns in the relationships between governors and directors of our trust (due to the failure to transmit important reports before governors meetings), to failures in communications between the trust and its membership, to failures in communications between governors and trust staff, and most seriously to disruption to people’s healthcare due to patients missing psychiatric appointments due to failed email communication.

“This problem has been confirmed to me both by our administrative staff and by our professional IT staff yet we are powerless to do anything about it because it is a national computer systems problem.”

Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, based at St Mary’s Hospital in Kettering, is responsible for care delivered outside of hospital and in the community across the county such as physical, mental health and speciality services for adults and young people.

Mr Miller has written to the Minister of Health appealing for him to investigate the problems and press the Health and Social Care Information Centre – which is responsible for NHS IT systems – to come up with a solution.

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A spokeswoman for the Health and Social Care Information Centre said: “We are aware that some users of NHSmail are experiencing problems with emails reaching external recipients.

“This is a result of emails being “blacklisted” by certain internet service providers. We are working with those providers to ensure this issue is resolved as soon as possible.”