Isoft problems could hit hospital finances

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Isoft problems could hit hospital finances

Tash Shifrin

An NHS hospital trust is facing a £16m shortfall due to problems with a patient record system provided by iSoft, the main software supplier to the NHS’s £12.4bn National Programme for IT (NPfIT).

The University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS trust could face losses of up to £16m if billing problems with the electronic patient record (EPR) system provided by iSoft are not resolved by March 2007.

In order to secure its finances, the North Staffordshire trust must generate bills from the EPR system for patient treatments, which are then paid by primary care trusts, the NHS commissioning bodies.

The figures showing the risk of a financial shortfall of up to £16m appeared in the trust’s month-four finance report, which showed that £450,000 had yet to be recovered from the first quarter of the year.

In a statement, the trust said the first quarter issue had been resolved and the £450,000 had been recovered in full.

But it added that it was still working with iSoft “on issues surrounding billing for the remaining three quarters of the year”.

The trust said, “Significant progress has been made and the trust is confident it will be resolved. This particular problem is not about the functionality of the EPR system but about data management within the data warehouse. The quality of the data itself is not in question.”

The problems at North Staffordshire will add to fears about iSoft’s delivery of its Lorenzo electronic patient record system to three out of the five NPfIT geographical clusters. The system is the basis of NPfIT’s key care record service component.

Delivery and implementation delays with its NPfIT systems forced iSoft to post losses of £383m in August and the firm is also under investigation by the Financial Services Authority. Its annual meeting is tomorrow.

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