Relief at NHS Cerner sites as Coalition relaxes 18-week target?

After the go-lives of the NPfIT Cerner Millenium system at Kingston Hospital NHS Trust and St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust, not everything has gone smoothly. One of the problems has been keeping track of all patients and their appointments.
 
So the two trusts have every reason to be relieved that the new Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has signalled an end to centralised management of the 18-week target.

In opposition the Conservatives promised to scrap government waiting list targets; and Lansley has said he’ll end all targets that don’t have a clinical justification.
 
He said they’ll be no more  top-down performance management of the 18-weeks referral to treatment target. 
 
Indeed the website of the Department of Health that was set up to explain why the 18-week target is important to patients is to close down this week.
  
The relaxation of the 18-week target means that Kingston, St George’s and some other trusts won’t have a mandated duty to keep track of patients from the time they are referred for treatment by their GP to the start of their treatment.
 
Barts and The London, which  went live with Cerner Millennium in 2008, went more than a year unable to report on whether it was complying with the 18-week target.  At one point it lost track of more than  14,000 patients, only to find eventually that all of them had been outside the 18-week target.
 
**
Now that the targets are going, or being relaxed, will it matter when hospitals lose track of hundreds or thousands of patients, especially after the implementation of new systems?
Links:
Kingston success? –  Projects Blog 
Royal Free says Cerner extremely challenging – E-health Insider 
Milton Keynes CRS “near melt-down” – E-Health Insider

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