Worthing and Southlands Hospitals NHS trust is continuing to experience problems of data quality and generating statutory reports seven months after going live with a new Care Records System (CRS) supplied by Cerner and installed by Fujitsu.

Worthing Hospital initially experienced ‘inflated’ waiting lists and problems with data quality following its switch to Cerner Millennium last September, hindering its ability to record and report on the national 18-week referral to treatment time target.

The trust reported that for patients waiting for treatment “Some waiting list inflation has occurred due to data quality issues following CRS implementation”.

Data quality and reporting problems arising from the switch to Cerner Millennium CRS, delivered as part of the £12.4bn NHS IT programme, also resulted in trust activity levels being understated by five to ten per cent. The figures are set out in a recently published trust report from December.

Four months on, asked whether the reported data quality and reporting problems set out have yet been resolved, the trust this week told E-Health Insider: “The situation has improved. However, there are some continuing issues which are being addressed.”

The problems reported at the trust are similar to problems that had previously been acknowledged at earlier Millennium CRS sites, including Weston and Mid South Bucks, both of which experienced significant reporting difficulties following go live.

Asked whether the reporting and data quality problems had impacted on the trust’s billing and future revenues, the trust told EHI: “This is currently being assessed.”

On elective inpatient activity the trust said in the December scorecard report: “Elective inpatient and day case activity currently reported from CRS is estimated to be understated by between 5 and 10% due to data entry backlogs and other process issues.” The same problems are said to affect outpatient data.

The December report states that waiting list figures have been “inflated as a result of data quality problems following migration to CRS”, and states “Data from CRS is still subject to data quality issues”.

Inflation in the reported figures also occurred for patients waiting over 20 weeks for elective inpatient or day case admission, and patients waiting over 11 weeks for first outpatient appointments.

Similarly, for the same reasons, the trust was only able to provide ‘estimates’ of how many patients were waiting 13 weeks or more for an endoscopy.

Data also had to be estimated on the key national target of reducing emergency bed-days by 5% in 2008.

The full extent of the problem has only now become apparent because of the retrospective nature of some of the reports and the delay in the trust publishing them as board papers.