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Colchester: Delays to IT project cost health trust £214k

Colchester Hospital.

Colchester Hospital.

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A troubled IT system has cost the health trust running Colchester’s hospitals more than £200,000 in delays.

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The clinical portal system, moving all electronic records to one database, was due to be implemented at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust’s (CHUFT) in April last year.

But a range of technical problems, including testing which revealed patient data would have been lost if the system had been changed for real, has led to 16 months of delays.

The problems led to the IT company introducing the new system being released from its contract.

At the CHUFT Board of Directors meeting earlier this month it was revealed the system would now go live on August 3 this year.

Chairman Dr Sally Irvine refused to reveal at the meeting how much money the trust claimed back from the former IT company behind the scheme.

Following a Freedom of Information request by the EADT it has been revealed the cost of project delays to the NHS trust is £214,200.

However the trust has again refused to release how much of the cost was claimed back, saying it is commercially sensitive.

In a statement the trust said: “Delays typically are not caused by one or other party and any excess costs of the delay have been shared appropriately following commercial negotiation.”

As of March 31 2014 the trust had spent £3.6million of a budgeted £4.6m on the project, the FoI request revealed.

A spokesman for CHUFT added: “The clinical portal is the Trust’s strategy for combining all electronic clinical data into an easily accessible single source throughout the patient journey.

“It will provide clinicians with fast and efficient patient information to support patient safety and is key to everyday first-class patient care.

“Currently our trust, like many others, has numerous record systems each requiring users to sign on separately and use a different interface. The clinical portal will allow clinicians to easily find out in one location all the information necessary to provide reliable, responsive and efficient patient care.

“A new go-live date of August 3 was agreed when the trust’s Board of Directors met earlier this month. The project team regards this as the best time because it will allow us to resolve the remaining issues and roll out an extensive training programme in June and July.

“Before the trust could agree a revised date for its launch, we had to deal with a number of other challenges, including the Keogh Review which was published in July last year and the Care Quality Commission report into our cancer services, published in November.

“The project team has continued to work to resolve commercial and planning issues and has now set out a plan to achieve the new go-live date with the commitment of the operational teams, as well as the Board of Directors.”

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