PATIENTS in Huddersfield are being put at risk by an out-of-hours-service which does not meet national standards, a report said today.
A review of systems used by West Yorkshire Urgent Care found patients were being put at "significant risk" of harm.
The overall NHS-funded service "does not functionally appear compliant" with rules laid down in 2006, the report said.
Lessons have not been learned from earlier cases, including that of London journalist Penny Campbell, who died from multiple organ failure in 2005 after consulting eight doctors over the course of four days.
A report into her death found serious flaws in the out-of-hours system, including doctors treating each of her calls as a fresh inquiry because they could not access each other’s notes.
Today’s study, which was leaked to Pulse magazine, was commissioned by NHS Kirklees and written by Dr David Carson from the Public Health Foundation.
West Yorkshire Urgent Care is made up of several providers including NHS Direct, private firm Care UK and not-for-profit group Local Care Direct.
It said: "Inquiries and interviews with staff in all three providers identified a range of issues relating to information flows, updating of information in a timely fashion (and) availability of information to frontline clinicians."
The review followed concerns from local GPs about a computerised system - SystmOne - used by West Yorkshire Urgent Care.
Dr Carson said doctors had raised issues about "reliability, usability and patient safety" in connection with the mobile device supplied with SystmOne, which is manufactured by TPP.
The report said: "Within SystmOne it is not obvious when looking at the call that there may be previous episodes within the last 72 hours.
"Users in the out-of-hours period require it to be obvious that the patient has made multiple contacts on seeing the call on the task list and on opening the record."
Dr Carson said logging on to the mobile version had taken 15 minutes at night and GPs were forced to read tiny laptop screens using a six-point font.
"There is a significant risk that the poor resolution combined with the lack of keyboard lighting will result in errors of data entry or recording," his report found.
He said gaps in the service meant doctors were hand-writing notes that should have been computerised and some some patient records had still not been entered after a week.
West Yorkshire Urgent Care is funded by NHS Bradford and Airedale, NHS Calderdale, NHS Kirklees, NHS Leeds and NHS Wakefield District.
Dr Carson said in his study: "Any system which requires so many parallel manual safety procedures and work-arounds to ensure patients calls do not get lost must be classified as being unfit for the purpose to which it is being used.
"The deficiencies are more serious when considered in the context of a complex provider network working across a number of different organisations.
"When one considers the volume of calls being handled I have no doubt there is a risk of significant harm to patients.
"I cannot emphasise enough the serious concern that I have in relation to the issues identified."
A statement from TPP said there were errors in the report in relation to SystmOne, but would not elaborate on what the errors were.
The statement said: "TPP was pleased to attend the review meeting when Dr Carson’s report was received.
"During the meeting TPP was able to correct errors within the report; as a consequence a follow up meeting was held to review the system functionality.
"Where problems were identified TPP was pleased to be able to provide rapid improvements to the software.
"We are continuing to work with the service commissioners and the providers to deliver system enhancements."