NHS internet failure affects surgeries across Kent


A Kent-wide NHS internet failure this morning (August 26) means surgeries across the county are unable to book appointments or access patient information.

A notice from Birchington Medical Centre says: “All NHS IT systems are down across the whole of Kent due to major server failure. As a result we can’t book any appointments at this time.

If you have any urgent needs please contact 111 in the first instance.”

The outage also affects NHS services in the community. A message from Kent Community Health Trust says: “f you are trying to contact our community hospitals, some of our phone lines are affected by a national network issue.”

IT systems at the covid vaccination clinic at Saga are up and running.


A spokesperson from NHS Digital said: “There was a temporary issue affecting internet connectivity at a small number of healthcare sites, mainly GP practices and community clinics, earlier today. This began at 2am during planned maintenance and has now been resolved by the supplier.”

A spokesperson for NHS Kent and Medway added: “We were alerted this morning to a national issue, which meant that some of the computer systems we use in healthcare across Kent and Medway were not working as they should. NHS Digital worked with suppliers to fix the issue and this is now complete. We apologise for any inconvenience this caused to patients and service users.”



  1. I have always had a problem booking appointments at Birchington in fact to date although trying on many occasions I have never managed to get an appointment. So an IT failure is just another excuse for them to use

  2. Thanks for the information! I have several life threatening conditions, and rely on a number of drugs, but this week after I collected my repeats, one important item was missing! I got back to the pharmacy concerned, who checked my prescriptions on their computer, and they found NO RECORD of my ever having been prescribed the drug, which I have been taking for years!

    I emailed my GP Surgery twice now, and asked them to look into this as a matter of urgency, because I will only have 2 tablets left at the end of this week, and have never received a reply! I will try and telephone, but this mess must be causing alarm to thousands like me! Yet another reason to never trust the Internet!

    • Here’s a thought. Could this be down to hacking? The Russians tried to upset the American Presidential election last year, by hacking into computer systems, they could have done the same here! Just saying!

        • That is the idea of going computerised-old files are either sent to storage in some giant warehouse or disposed off. Technology is great-until it fails, or there is a power cut.

      • I finally managed to get through to the GP surgery and was told the missing item from my Repeat prescription had been rectified, and another prescription had been sent to the Pharmacy 2 days ago, but no one informed me, Duurh!

    • This is the second time now. I too had one item missing on my repeat prescription. I run out on the day I receive mine, it is that tight. I had to go nearly a week without them with two phone calls from myself and two from the chemist.
      I hope my hospital appointment I have been waiting for 5 months hasn’t been deleted. There is no way of knowing as the online booking appointments has been down all through the pandemic. Will have to try ringing them now.
      There should be some backup system when the general one crashes. This is relying on computers for you!!

  3. It’s not rocket science to call out NEXT for a doctor to see the NEXT patient. There never used to be an appointments at all. My doctors surgery used to be a case of they worked from 8am to 12:30 then 2pm to 6 pm Monday to Friday
    8am to 12.30 Saturday. Closed Sunday. There was only two doctors two nurses and two receptionist. Doors closed 30 minutes before closing. All you had to do was walk in give your name date of birth. The receptionist gave you your medical notes in a folder and a number to hold and waited for the doctor to call out NEXT. Mind you that was in 1968.

  4. And back in 1968 GP surgeries had far fewer patients than they do now! If they tried to operate the same system now, the surgeries would have queues outside. We all know the current system is not perfect but much is down to the shortage of GPs.
    As for paper records – fine to do print outs at regular intervals of what is already booked but it just wouldn’t work for new appointments. Surgeries now have several people answering the phones and each is connected to the computer system to see and book appointments. That simply would not work with a paper system.
    Yes it is EXTREMELY inconvenient to thousands when the IT system fails but nobody can predict this and everyone is working as hard as they can to rectify it. What is the difference between this and say your car breaking down? Life is not perfect and we simply have to learn to live with situations like this from time to time, but it seems most people these days have very little patience or understanding.

    • Well, when things like this DO happen, it would make sense to have a book/diary. Can’t be that difficult to pass around amongst colleagues or transfer calls to one person with said book/diary.

      I have very little patience or understanding of those who don’t have a Plan B in case of situations like this.

  5. Peter that would mean writing down every appointment in a diary/notebook as well as booking on the computer – having worked in a GP practice this is not sustainable. As other comments say this was unexpected.

    • No it would not – it would simply mean doing so just until the system is up and running again, so probably for little more than a few hours.

      As for it being “unexpected”, again that isn’t good enough. ALL things go wrong at one time or another, and there have also been cyber attacks on NHS systems before. A simple Plan B doesn’t cost anyone any money or time.

      • Incidentally, my NHS dentist still writes down appointments in a book (or at least they did last time I was there about 2 years ago). They also still have paper patient notes.

        • Sure: Pen, paper and diary.

          Exactly the same as my dentist are still using, and who would no doubt be able to offer me an appointment if I phoned them.

          • Why on earth would they need to do that to make appointments for next week? The IT system will almost certainly be back up and running long before then.

            Note that the report doesn’t say they’re cancelling today’s appointments, something I would’ve thought they’d have a bigger problem with if GPs can’t access the records of patients they’re seeing/speaking to on phone.

  6. I started in the NHS in 1967 and retired in 2006 my wife started in 1965 and retired in 2008. Many things were for the better by the time we retired and many were for the worse. The Isle of THANET hospital management Committee had far more hospitals to manage then than the trust does now yet the trust like GP surgery’s leaves a lot to be desired.
    However I think they try their best under the circumstances that they face today.

  7. Peter your naive view is typical of the total lack of understanding of a GP surgery. The systems all link to hospital for test results, accessing medical records which in this modern day would now fill warehouses to capacity, xrays, scans, no printout all digital files. As far as the booking of appointments.. try ringing a busy surgery at 8am.. you may be 50 plus in the queue, passing a notebook around is laughable. Years ago doctors were small practices and saw far fewer people we now live in a time when the public cannot even deal with a sniffly cold without calling to ask for a consult. Go try asking to go behind the scenes for a day before giving your advice. Yes it was inconvenient, but emergency care was still available.

    • As I said, all calls could’ve been directed to just one person.

      No, I haven’t worked in a GP surgery, but I have worked as a controller in a taxi office in the pre-computer days. On a Friday night, the phone would literally be ringing non-stop for hours (no time for tea or toilet breaks), and I’d have to remember the rough location of every driver, estimate the time of the journeys, and learn by heart almost every road in North Thanet plus all major roads beyond. I’d swap that for sitting in front of a phone with a diary/planner any day.

      • As said no idea. Lets go back to the old system. Kathy can go to printing the paper on a Friday. Letters to the editor to fill a couple of columns. No real time news. Supermarket checkout back to typing it all in with queues around the block. I repeat try doing the job first. I can also assure you that very few frontline GP staff are little more than glorified telephonists. Again, like many on here who are quick to criticise, i would suggest go and give your input to your local surgery if you consider you have something to help. I am sure they would appreciate anyone who can help managing 30 to 40 thousand patient records per surgery

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