'Extremely difficult' NHS IT roll out cost hospital £10m

A London hospital is looking for £10m compensation after an "extremely difficult" implementation of the Care Record System, part of the NHS National programme for IT.

A London hospital is looking for £10m compensation after an "extremely difficult" implementation of the Care Record System, part of the NHS National programme for IT.

The introduction of the system at the Royal Free Hospital caused a "£10m problem for the trust," said Andrew Way, chief executive of the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust.

It had to pay an extra £4m to get the system working, and lost £6m because it was unable to bill other parts of the NHS for work done.

He said the trust "is in discussion with other parts of the NHS to seek to resolve this financial issue". It is not seeking compensation from the NHS or other trusts, but through the NHS London Local Strategic Health Authority and the London Programme for IT.

The trust has been using the e-records system last summer but Way said in an interview with the BBC that it had led to a number of problems.

Problems

Software glitches have caused problems and created extra work for staff, and the financial problems have prevented the trust from investing in new equipment.

Way paid tribute to trust staff, saying they had dealt with substantial additional work because of the problems.

Way said, "I have personally apologised for the decision to implement the system before we were really clear about what we were going to receive.

"I had been led to believe it would all work."

Way as chief executive is the senior responsible owner (SRO) of the NPfIT implementation at the trust. The SRO of a project is the person responsible for ensuring that a programme meets its objectives.

Lessons learnt

Way said he will continue working with suppliers BT and Cerner. The trust is now working to adapt the system to the way its staff want to work.

"We are in discussion with other hospitals over the problems and the lessons which can be learnt," he said. "We also should recognise the many achievements which have allowed us to get to the position where the system is now far more stable."

He added, "It should be emphasised that we now have the basics of one of the world's most highly regarded IT systems established at the Royal Free.

"But the introduction of the CRS system at our hospital has caused much heartache and hard work."

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