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Thursday 24th May 2018

E-records system criticised

13th February 2009

The new NHS computerised medical records system on trial at a London hospital has been severely criticised.


Andrew Way, chief executive of London's Royal Free Hospital, said technical problems had cost the trust £10m and meant fewer patients could be seen.

He said the system, part of the £12bn NHS IT upgrade which will put 50 million patient records on a secure database by 2014, had caused "heartache and hard work".

The Royal Free is one of a number of early adopters of e-records and has been using the system since last summer, but the hospital feels the burden of that had left it unable to invest in new equipment.

Mr Way also pointed to technical problems, delays in outpatient bookings and the need to employ 40 extra administrative staff to handle the additional work.

He said: "I think it is very disappointing that the work we had to do as a trust has caused our staff so much heart-ache and hard work.

"Many of the medical staff are incredibly disappointed with what we have got. 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."

The NHS Confederation said the Royal Free was not the first hospital to have significant implementation problems.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has defended the NHS IT project while the Department of Health said that lessons learned from the deployment at the Royal Free would help improve further deployments.


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