The director of finance at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust has written to the head of the NHS Connecting for Health to set out his trust’s concerns about the cost of repeated delays in the delivery of a new patient administration system by Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC).

The finance director points out local trusts have no control over delays, yet must still meet the extra costs involved, even when the national NHS CfH fines suppliers for late delivery. To date the PAS system at the trust is running 15-months late.

Stephen Brookfield, director of finance information, planning and capital, at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, wrote to Richard Granger, director general of NHS CfH the agency responsible for the £6.2bn digitisation of the NHS after the trust’s PAS system was delayed by a further four months.

Writing on behalf the trust board he set out the trust’s concerns over the impact and cost of delaying the introduction of the new (PAS) system from May to October.

The system, which will cover Blackburn and Burnley hospitals was first due to launch in July last year.

A spokesperson for CSC told EHI: "CSC confirms that it is aware that such a letter has been sent. CSC is providing input to NHS Connecting for Health to facilitate the response to the contents of the letter."

A spokesperson for the trust confirmed that the delay was the latest in a series of implementation dates that had been provided to the trust only to be postponed. "It was to have been May 2006 and we’ve had previous dates before that."

The trust declined to provide a copy of the letter but told EHI that in it Brookfield contrasted the national penalties for failing to deliver on time, that are being applied to the companies involved in the NPfIT programme "and draws attention to the fact that these are not being shared locally with organisations which are incurring additional costs as a result of the delays…"

The trust spokesperson told EHI that some of the additional costs fell in areas such as staff training, which had "been provided in readiness for a May go live". She added: "If it is delayed again we have to refresh the training".

The spokesperson said that other costs of delays it faced included the "management and staff" costs associated with planning for the go live.