Trust hits records trouble despite assurances to MPs

Another NHS trust hits trouble as the Department of Health assures MPs that problems following a troubled go-live of nationally-bought systems at an Oxfordshire hospital will not be repeated.

The Department of Health has given MPs on the Public Accounts Committee an assurance that problems following a troubled go-live of nationally-bought systems at an Oxfordshire hospital will not be repeated elsewhere in the NHS.

However, evidence has emerged that some of the same problems experienced at Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre have already occurred at Buckinghamshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which went live with the same version of the Cerner Millennium Care Records Service as ­Nuffield

Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre lost its status as a top-performing hospital following problems which included an inability to report some of its management activity and progress towards meeting waiting list and other targets.

Last week the Public Accounts Committee published a report that was highly critical of the NHS's £12.4bn National Programme for IT (NPfIT). In the report, MPs attacked the credibility of some of the Department of Health's assurances over the progress of aspects of the programme.

As part of the committee's research, one of its members, ­Richard Bacon, asked the Department of Health whether any of the problems encountered by the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre were expected to occur at future Cerner deployments.

The department's response, revealed in the committee's report, was: "No. We will support the local NHS and ensure that problems are not repeated."

But Computer Weekly has received evidence that Buckinghamshire Hospitals NHS Trust - which went live with the NPfIT Care Records Service more than six months after Nuffield's deployment - also ran into difficulties with reporting.

Anne Eden, chief executive of Buckinghamshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said in a letter to Computer Weekly that reporting was an issue.

She said, "All trusts need to provide reports on areas such as in­patient, outpatient, day-case activity, etc to our funding primary care trust. In addition, we can use this information to monitor and learn from our own performance." She added that there were "some difficulties in completing some aspects of reporting".

This evidence raises questions about the assurances given by the Department of Health.

The Care Records Service is the main part of the NPfIT. The aim is to give 50 million people in England a medical record that can be made available to any authorised clinician.

'Stop this care records system roll-out', urge doctors >>

Public Accounts Committee report >>

Criticism and opportunity for NHS IT >>

Aganst the current: Tony Collins' project management blog >> 

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