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Maternity services

Long queues at Rotunda Hospital partly caused by new IT system

The hospital has received two complaints in relation to yesterday’s long waiting times.

THE ROTUNDA HOSPITAL says that long queues to see its doctors was due, in part, to the implementation of a new IT system.

Photos on Twitter showed women standing in the hallway waiting for a doctors’ appointment. One person claimed that people had to join a standing queue, which led to a seated queue to get a number for a queue to see a doctor.

The hospital said today that this was due, in part, to the new Maternal & Newborn Clinical Management System (MN-CMS) which was implemented at the Rotunda on 18 November.

The government is in the process of introducing the new IT system for all maternity centres in Ireland, which will digitise maternity health records so that they’re easily shared between hospitals and other healthcare providers.

“A number of follow up appointment orders were not placed correctly on MN-CMS, which meant that the administrative team had to leave the reception area to find out exactly what follow up was required by the attending doctor.

These are ongoing daily teething issues as staff get used to the new system. We will be reviewing the impact of the system in the new year but we are confident that as staff become more familiar with it that processes will improve.

In response to a query form, a spokesperson for the hospital said that the clinics were significantly busier than usual because of two other reasons: the Christmas season, patients not sticking to appointment times, and a number of follow-up appointments weren’t logged correctly on the new IT system.

Clinic capacities were increased yesterday as next Tuesday is Stephen’s Day and the clinics will be closed.

Additional appointments were added to ensure that women were seen before the Christmas break, as it’s important that women are “are reviewed at appropriate gestations”, the spokesperson said.

There were 248 maternity patients scheduled to attend with approximately 207 in attendance by 5.30pm on the day. This were also gynaecology clinics held during the day.

The long queues were also caused in part due to patients not sticking to their allotted times, so that patients who arrived early or late ended up adding to queues that were already quite long.

“The clinics are set up to check in 20 patients max every 15 minutes,” the hospital said.

“Patients who checked in at 1.15pm were checked out by 2.15pm, so one hour in total, but this increased to more than two hours as the afternoon went on.

“We have tried to implement that patients are only checked in at their appointment time, but yesterday they were dealt with on a first come first served basis to reduce waiting times.”

The hospital spokesperson said it received one complaint yesterday and one this morning in respect to the waiting times at the clinic yesterday.

“We will continue to manage the clinics to ensure minimum waiting times and we are sorry it was not ideal yesterday and patients waited longer that they or we expected.”

So far, the Maternal & Newborn Clinical Management System (MN-CMS) has been introduced in Cork University Hospital and University Hospital Kerry, followed by The Rotunda Hospital and the National Maternity Hospital. The plan is to roll-out the system on a phased basis to 19 hospitals over the next three years.

Read: Majority of patients wait longer than six hours in an emergency department to be seen by a doctor

Read: Going digital: Rollout begins for e-health records from babies’ birth

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