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Med-tech meltdown hits region’s hospital

Wairarapa was one of several hospitals in the wider Wellington region to be struck with system disruptions from a significant information and communication technologies [ICT] outage.

The outage – discovered at 4am yesterday – was reportedly caused by an internal cooling system failure that resulted in multiple servers overheating and shutting down.

The issue affected hospital functions across Wellington, Hutt Valley, and Wairarapa.

A spokesperson for Te Whatu Ora said the fault slowed access to a range of clinical and support systems including patient records, clinical notes, laboratory results, payroll, some swipe access cards, and the remote working application for staff.

The issue was resolved at about 2.30pm yesterday.

While no patients needed rescheduling at Wairarapa Hospital, some people attending outpatient appointments or planned procedures experienced delays of up to 30 minutes.

About 80 patients in the Capital and Coast region had to have appointments rescheduled.

Wairarapa Emergency Department head Dr Norman Gray said people often don’t realise how vital the internal system technology is in hospitals until it disappears – admitting that “I didn’t appreciate it myself so much until it went down the other weekend”.

“Normally these things are fixed in two minutes, but it took some hours and it’s everything.”

Gray said any outage decreases efficiency, but medical ICT disruptions are a real game-changer.

“It holds things up tremendously – so much relies on the computers, because you need them to get people into the system, it’s where we read our x-rays, where we get our results on the screen, and where we write our notes.”

Te Whatu Ora said additional evening and weekend sessions are being held for cancer patients who had sessions rescheduled.

No surgeries needed to be deferred across all regions.

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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