Will IT support please come to the ward immediately. Weeeee have a tricky problem

Doctors and nurses take the piss

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On-Call Welcome once again to On-Call, our regular look at the messes readers find themselves in when asked to go to help out their clients.

This week, we've heard from an NHS IT guy who would like to keep his name anonymous.

When a support request came in for our reader, it was hard to work out what was going on, we're told, because the person who took the phonecall couldn't stop giggling.

"The colleague said: 'That's OK. Please turn it off and *** will be round immediately,' he fell off the chair and laughed helplessly for what seemed like five minutes before telling me where help was required."

Our man was then assigned to the job and told which ward to go to to deal with the IT incident.

"When I got to the ward, words were few. 'Where is it?' was probably a silly question. There was no choice. The nurse smiled and pointed anyway. 'You might be looking for these.' She pointed to boxes of different sizes of rubber gloves."

Our reader explains: "It turns out they hadn't turned off the PC where an elderly patient had peed in the keyboard perhaps six hours before they thought of calling us!

"After putting on the proffered rubber gloves, I pulled the plug removed the keyboard and put it under the sluice."

But what lessons were learned from this unfortunate incident? Over to our man.

"The keyboard was replaced and things were moved and redesigned to protect the keyboard, PC and CRT monitor. (It was a while ago.) That could have been nasty," he tells us.

"It would have been just prior to the millennium. Computers were much less ubiquitous than now. Every ward had a computer. In comparison, wards now will have several computers, tablets and other devices."

He adds: "IT staff were a rare sight in the actual places that performed the primary function of a hospital. Nowadays, we just can't keep away. The amount of computers and other devices has increased hugely and while IT is as understaffed as everywhere else, a 500-bed hospital might have had a total IT support headcount of four."

As for the neglected, urine-soaked keyboard, our reader notes: "Doctors, nurses and other medical staff generally did not 'do IT'."

Share your own experience of soggy keyboards, or other horrors elsewhere on client sites, by mailing Vulture Weekend for possible inclusion in a future On-Call. ®

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