News

Stop roll-out of this records system, urge NHS doctors

Dozens of users of a system delivered under the NHS's £12.4bn National Programme for IT (NPfIT) want the technology withdrawn - though they have praised IT staff and the supplier for the "heroic" work involved in the go-live.

Seventy-nine doctors, nurses and other end-users at Milton Keynes General Hospital have written a letter saying a new Care Records Service system is "not fit for purpose".

The Care Records Service is the pivotal part of the NPfIT, the aim being to provide an electronic health record for 50 million people in England, accessible by any authorised clinician.

Major NHS organisations across England are contractually bound to take the Cerner Millennium-based Care Records Service. Milton Keynes General Hospital was one of the first five to go live with the service in Southern England.

Several other early adopters have also had difficulties keeping hospitals running smoothly after going live with the system.

The Milton Keynes letter said the technology was so awkward and unaccommodating that, "We cannot foresee the system working adequately in a clinical context."

It added, "It should not be installed in any further hospitals. If it is not already too late, there is a strong argument for withdrawing the Care Records Service system from this hospital."

The Milton Keynes News reported that Richard Butterworth, a doctor at the hospital, told a trust board meeting last month, "Out-patients is a nightmare, with no notes. The new system meant that 40 patients had no sets of case notes."

Hospital finance director Rob Baird told the board, "At the moment, we have quite a confused situation."

Fujitsu said in a statement that there had been some "high-impact problems" and it regretted any inconvenience caused to patients and clinicians.

Of the 16 issues outstanding at go-live, six were of greater priority and five of these had been resolved, said Fujitsu. The others were being investigated.

A spokesman for NHS Connecting for Health, the agency running the NPfIT, said the Milton Keynes trust identified some "unacceptable problems" and no payments would be made to Fujitsu until the system was working satisfactorily.

A spokesman said, "It is clear that there are some issues at the trust which need immediate attention and we share their disappointment that they have experienced these problems.

"We are confident that when the current issues are resolved, it will help to deliver better, quicker, safer care for patients."

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