Electronic Patient Record Systems – Are we making progress?

It seems that Electronic Patient Record’s systems for NHS Trusts are about to raise their heads again as news has surfaced that the Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust & the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust are looking to invest millions of pounds in a new electronic patient record system (EPR).

In a joint procurement for a system that will be shared, the two Trusts have issued a tender for an EPR record system which could be worth up to £35 million for the suppliers, see more details here. The plan will be to initially run the system for 10 years with an option to extend it for another five years.

What strikes us as odd is that the Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust is already one of nine Cerner Millennium EPR live sites in the South of England, so why would they need to procure a replacement when the Millennium system has only been in place since 2007 as part of the then NPfIT, later re-badged as NHS Connecting for Health multi-billion IT upgrade project.

A report last July based on information obtained under Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation indicated that the Cerner EPR system had not delivered all the benefits that was expected of it and that work was still on-going to…

“…eliminate “dis-benefits”, but a number of these cannot be addressed “due to them being either fundamental to the way that Millennium is configured or due to contractual /specification issues not within the current remit of the trust to easily influence.”

Will the procurement of a new EPR system look to replace the single Cerner Millennium system with another that can be shared between the two Trusts or will a completely new EPR system be purchase to be shared between the two Trusts? Whichever option is chosen, it looks like the British Taxpayer will be footing a large bill again, so soon after the initial Cerner Millennium implementation.

We’ll keep an eye on this one and report any updates as and when we find them.

Car Parking Charges and Waiting Times

We’ve updated the website pages for Car Parking charges and Waiting Times with new information.

Car Parking Charges

We’ve added a few more Trusts to the list including an entry for the Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, which seems to have some very high charges – £1.00 for every 30minutes of parking time! We’ll continue to add more Trusts as we come across new changes.

Waiting Times

In light of the recent news that many of the NHS Trusts have missed their targets for A&E waiting times, we have updated this page with information on what the benchmark details are that the government pledges to meet. We don’t think we have heard anything from the Government that there have been changes to these.

Maybe these goal posts will be moved in the coming weeks?

NHS Waiting Times – Are they getting worse?

More NHS Foundation Trusts are falling behind their Waiting Times target according to this article from the Guardian, where some 32 out of 88 hospital trusts are failing to treat accident patients within four hours of arrival in A&E.

NHS Hospitals have to meet a Government set target to treat 95 % of all patients visiting A&E within a four hour window. As part of its recent report on the figures Monitor – the regulator tasked with monitoring the semi-independent NHS foundation trusts, said that these figures reflect the fact that these hospitals are really struggling to deal with an ever-increasing numbers of patients attending A&E.

In a similar survey published last December (2012) the Quality Care Commission also commented…

“…that 33% of people spent more than four hours waiting for treatment in A&E, up from 27% in 2008. It also noted a large rise in the number of patients who had to wait more than 30 minutes before seeing a nurse or doctor.”

Clearly a trend in emerging. Let’s hope that the NHS can get on top of this issue soon, but with the many changes that are about to hit the NHS over the coming months we think it will be a tough task to see an early improvement.

Raw Data

Some of the raw data that went into the creation of these reports is available as Spreadsheets (Excel) for direct download from the Department of Health website. Once you arrive at this page, you will need to scroll down to December 2012 A&E Data, it is the last file in that listing (the file name is: 2012-13 Quarter 3 : – 13 weeks to w/e 30.12.2012 (Revised 28.02.2013). Click on the filename to open or download it.

New Page and Old data

NHS Watch had been monitoring Waiting Times on its previous website for quite some time and we will begin that task again in the next few days, you can see the initial information on our main NHS Waiting Times page.

We have also discovered that much of the old data which we published has been moved to the UK’s digital National Archives, we’ll provide some links to that data as well.