Bath looks to learn lessons of patient system roll-out

An NHS trust that is due to adopt systems under the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT) has said it will learn lessons from the troubled implementation of patient administration software at Milton Keynes General Hospital.

An NHS trust that is due to adopt systems under the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT) has said it will learn...

lessons from the troubled implementation of patient administration software at Milton Keynes General Hospital.

Problems at Milton Keynes Hospital last month prompted complaints from 79 system users that the software was not fit for purpose.

Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust had originally been due to go live with IDX systems from the NPfIT in November 2005, but the software was dropped by its local service provider, Fujitsu. There is still no date set for the roll-out of the replacement software from Cerner - the same system with which ­Milton Keynes Hospital has experienced problems.

John Williams, acting chief executive and finance director at the Bath trust, said, "The new system is not yet fully functional in terms of reporting therefore we are ­continuing to test it and to take every opportunity to gain from the experiences of other trusts, including the Milton Keynes trust."

Papers from a board meeting of the Bath trust released last month said that the software was not yet fit for purpose.

"For the past few years this trust has been anticipating the replacement of its TDS patient administration system through the NPfIT. Doubts are now being expressed [in the media] about whether this programme will actually work," the papers said.

Williams said, "The implement­ation of a new patient administration system is essential to avoid the risks and costs associated with maintaining our current systems."

The Bath trust is currently using a TDS patient administration system that dates back to the early 1990s. In the business case for becoming an early adopter of NPfIT systems, the trust said TDS was "clinically unpopular" and had "limited functionality".

The earliest date for implement­ation of the NPfIT system at Bath is July 2007, according to trust papers.

In board papers from a meeting in December, trust head of IT Richard Smale said a government Gateway review had agreed that the product was not ready for use.

"The major issues were regarding how the system feeds through to reporting and how the system is shared between the Royal United Hospital, Weston and Bristol," he said.

Fujitsu said, "We continue to work closely with Royal United Hospital Bath to develop the software, provided by Cerner, and take into account new NHS requirements and experiences learnt from previous deployments."

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