Complaints to Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust leap

Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust had an extra 8,500 complaints from patients

Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust had an extra 8,500 complaints from patients after going live with a Cerner "Millennium" patient administration system under the NHS's £12.7bn National Programme for IT [NPfIT].

In 2007/08 about 14,000 people contacted the trust's Patient Advice and Liaison Service with problems or concerns about care, treatment or access to the hospital's services. This was more than double the 5,500 complaints received the previous year.

Computer Weekly has learned from a paper to the trust's board that the 8,500 increase in complaints was "due to difficulties following the implementation of the trust's new patient administration system".

The paper says: "The Patient Advice and Liaison Service [helped] over 14,000 people who contacted them with problems or concerns about care, treatment, or access to Trust services. This was a significant increase on the 5,500 cases in the previous year and was due to difficulties following the implementation of the Trust's new Patient Administration System."

The trust told Computer Weekly that the extra complaints were due mainly to delays in booking follow-up appointments after patients came into hospital. A spokesman said the Cerner system takes staff much longer to book follow-up appointment than before. This caused queues and might have deterred some patients from making appointments there and then. The hospital has since employed more staff to keep the workload under control, but at a "significant" extra cost.

In July 2007, the hospital became the first in London to go live with the Cerner "Millennium" Care Records Service as part of the NPfIT. The system was installed by BT Health, the local service provider for London.

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