Connecting for Health (CfH) has hit back at claims that the NHS computer system has almost one "major incident" a day
In a statement released on 19 September 2006, the organisation responsible for implementing the National Programme for IT (NPfIT) said the term "major incident" has been misconstrued.
News reports said more than 110 major incidents have been reported by hospitals and GPs over the past four months.
"The expression major incidents can be misinterpreted. CfH uses the terminology to describe incidents reported by users under categories of severity one and two," said CfH.
"Very often they are not major incidents as such, but could be caused when a patient administration system is running slow or there may be problems with the local network. The severity level is attributed by the user and this is subsequently very often down graded or amended."
Many of the incidents that have been reported by CfH include failure of the systems used by surgeons to see X-ray pictures on a computer screen in wards and operating theatres. On some occasions the system is believed to have crashed during an operation, forcing surgeons to suspend the procedure while a hard copy of the X-ray is found.
Hospitals have also lost access to their patient administration systems, which hold records on appointments and planned treatments, so that they do not know who is due to have consultations or treatments.