The roll-out of a new computer system which was due to be installed in St George’s and every London hospital has been frozen after crashing in its first trial.

IT experts have stopped setting up the software, designed to give doctors access to patients’ records wherever they are in the country, after the system at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead repeatedly failed.

St George’s Hospital in Tooting was one of the next in line to be fitted with the system, but reports of it routinely crashing and losing patient information have led to some staff reverting to pen and paper.

This is the latest blow for the £12billion national project which is already four years behind schedule.

Kay Fletcher, spokeswoman for the London Programme for IT, which is responsible for the upgrade of NHS computers, told a national newspaper: "We want to learn from the issues at the Royal Free. The trusts are continuing with their preparations but we are discussing revised go-live dates.”

And Ms Fletcher admitted no more hospitals would get the upgrade until next year.

A spokesman for St George’s Trust said: “The trust views this as an opportunity for it to reflect on its priorities for the programme so that we can tailor the new system more closely to our immediate needs and those of our patients.

“When fully up and running the system will significantly improve the way patient care is delivered, reduce administrative effort and help St George’s to become more efficient, driving down waiting times and increasing the number of patients that can be seen.”

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