NHS Ayrshire & Arran has this afternoon advised that outpatient clinics scheduled from tomorrow will take place as planned.
It followed a major incident being declared on Sunday morning at Crosshouse Hospital, Kilmarnock when the power went down and affected services at nearby health units.
Power was restored at the site but NHS chiefs confirmed on Sunday night that patient administrative systems remained under “severe strain.”
As a result, they made the decision to scrap a number of outpatient clinics for acute services today at Ayr and Crosshouse, East Ayrshire Community Hospital, Ayrshire Central Hospital and MSK appointments at Biggart Hospital.
It is not clear how many patients were affected by today’s cancellations.
However, bosses confirmed that all patient administrative systems used by NHS Ayrshire & Arran are now restored – meaning outpatient clinics scheduled from Tuesday, March 8 can proceed.
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Dr Crawford McGuffie, NHS Ayrshire & Arran medical director, said: “Our teams have worked extremely hard over the last 24 hours to restore all the administrative systems that were unfortunately impacted by the power outage yesterday morning.
“These systems are now working effectively and that means that we can welcome patients as normal to outpatient appointments at all our sites from Tuesday, March 8.”
Some criticism was, however, leveled at the health board for not getting information about cancellations out to patients in time.
One patient, Paul Banks from Ayr, said: “The recent IT problem at Crosshouse on March 6 that led to the cancellation of most of the outpatient appointments on March 7 is something that can always occur occasionally.
“However, the response by NHS Ayrshire & Arran in advising affected patients was very poor.
“Had I not called Ayr Hospital on Sunday evening to ask where the Heathfield suite was located then I would have been none the wiser and would have turned up at the hospital, no doubt with hundreds of other patients, only to be sent home.
“I was also lucky to have a family member who works at the hospital who forwarded a web link this morning (Monday) which he had received on the situation.
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“Not only was I fortunate enough to find out about the cancellation, I only lived 10 minutes from the hospital.
“Imagine if you had traveled thousands and made arrangements for childcare or similar.
“The hospital will be full of disgruntled patients and the admin staff on the clinic receptions and at the appointment center will have to bear the brunt of the undoubted frustration and pick up the pieces afterwards.”
Speaking on Monday, I added: “My appointment was at 9.15am. It’s now 10.30am and I’ve still to be formally advised, if ever. No text, call or email. Poor show by hospital management.”
Health chiefs did use social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to alert as many patients as possible ahead of Monday’s cancellations.
Dr McGuffie said: “We understand that cancellation of today’s outpatient appointments at short notice was disappointing and disruptive for many people and we apologize for any inconvenience caused.
“Our referral management service is reappointing everyone impacted as swiftly as possible – patients with any concerns can call the team on 01563 827070.
“This has been a challenging situation for our staff and patients and my thanks go to everyone for their patience and support at this time.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.