Macmillan calls for urgent action to address serious IT system failings within cancer care

Macmillan has called for urgent action to be taken to improve the IT system which helps health professionals manage cancer treatments for patients in Wales.


Having initially raised concern over the number of ‘major incidents’ affecting the CaNISC system, the charity has welcomed increased scrutiny from the National Assemby for Wales’ Public Accounts Committee which yesterday put the system under intense questioning.


The CaNISC IT system is used to manage cancer treatment waiting times and patient appointments, support multi-disciplinary teams in providing care and to support cancer research across Wales.


Responding to the comments made in a session of the Public Accounts Committee yesterday, Richard Pugh, Head of Services for Macmillan in Wales said:


“Any failure within the CaNISC IT system puts patients at risk, negatively impacts on patient care and means cancer care professionals are not able to deliver the seamless, high-quality care they all aspire to.


“There are reports of an increasing number of major incidents within this vital IT system, during which it is simply not possible to access a patient’s electronic care record. It is not unusual for some outages and performance issues to last for more than 2 hours.


“This means vital treatments like chemotherapy or radiotherapy may not be prepared on time, patients may attend for treatment only to find it cannot go ahead and health professionals are left unable to access patient records to plan their care – all of which creates unnecessary suffering for those involved and could impact negatively on the outcomes being achieved for people with cancer.


“We absolutely support the continued and forensic scrutiny of the CaNISC system, which is now being brought to bear by the Public Accounts Committee, and we are calling for urgent action on this issue.


“CaNISC was developed in the late 90s and is no longer supported by Microsoft. It is now so defunct and so outdated, it cannot be considered an acceptable way of managing patient records. This is simply not acceptable as we drive towards an innovative and fit for purpose NHS.


“Urgent action must be taken.  People with cancer in Wales simply cannot wait the two years that it is estimated it will take to get a new system up and running.  People with cancer need a reliable system to manage their care effectively and they need that system now.”

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