Bacon calls for halt on Millennium
19 January 2012
Conservative MP Richard Bacon has called for a halt to all Cerner Millennium deployments following appointment problems and delays at the latest trusts to go-live with the system - North Bristol and Oxford.
Bacon, who has followed the progress of the National Programme for IT in the NHS [NPfIT - ed.] for many years, said the two hospitals had been “brought to their knees” by the implementation of the new electronic patient record system.
“These deployments need to be stopped until we are sure that they can be managed safely,” he said; adding that the system should be "switched off" if it was not working for patients.
North Bristol NHS Trust and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust said they are working through some deployment issues, but denied that patient safety has been compromised.
[There's that 'safety has not been compromised by major IT system disruptions' line again - see here - ed.]
However, Oxford University Hospitals told eHealth Insider that it has had to bring in extra staff to help it overcome some “temporary problems while the new system beds in.”
Bacon said local news reports indicated that the trust was having serious difficulties booking patients in for treatment.
The Oxford Mail has reported that problems were so bad before Christmas that the trust had to suspend its parking charges as clinics over-ran by hours.
... Bacon, who was instrumental in triggering last year’s National Audit Office and Commons’ public accounts committee inquiries into the programme, said the NHS should never have been locked into buying software that was “unreliable” and “unreasonably expensive."
“Effective, affordable and robust IT systems are vital to the future of the NHS, but it is clear that the fiasco that is the national programme cannot deliver them,” he said this morning.
He called for “a halt” to new Cerner Millennium deployments, including that at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which is being undertaken by BT as the local service provider for London, and that at Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, which went outside the national programme more than two years ago.
[More typical hospital executive-style excuses and spin control follow]
Readers, I won't bore you with the rest of the excuses, pleadings for special accommodation, etc. You've heard them all already on this blog.
However you can read them at the link above if you so desire.