Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust has disbanded its Care Records System team and will implement a system from Ascribe instead.

Following Fujitsu’s exit from the National Programme for IT, the trust decided to use its contingency plans to consolidate all of its existing systems into a single system known as ePEX from Ascribe.

ePEX is designed to support mental health and community care and Ascribe says it is already in use in more than 35 UK trusts.

Work on the consolidation has begun, with the trust creating an ePEX consolidation project board, chaired by the trust’s chief executive. An order has been placed for the initial software modules and a date for installation is now being scheduled.

The trust’s director of IM&T, Les Manley, told EHI: “We are disappointed with the outcome of contract reset; however any repercussions for us are minimised because we do have a contingency plan.

“The trust has two primary information systems and a small number of specialist departmental systems. The consolidation plan will see one of these primary systems replaced and the other system enhanced and rolled out across the trust.

“Although we’re still working on detailed plans, we believe we will go live at the beginning of next year.”

Senior staff from the former CRS board have been moved to the ePEX project and are helping the trust plan for the migration. An e-learning programme is also under development to allow staff to learn the new system quickly.

Manley told EHI that additional costs to the trust had been minimised, as they are able to use funds previously allocated to CRS plans.

“We have redirected the project resources we had for the local service provider solution. We are also already paying for our existing systems, and the cost for additional licensing of one system is offset by the savings from the system we will switch off.

“Data migration costs are already accounted for in our CRS plans and we expect to use the same partner for this project. Additional costs are therefore minimal and associated with the enhancements we wish to implement.”

According to project board papers, the trust has spent £50,000 on software procurement, with delivery expected by the end of the month.

The trust had previously been working closely with Fujitsu and the Southern Programme for IT, and had begun plans for CRS deployment in October 2007.

At the time, the senior responsible owner for deployment at the trust told EHI: “Our clinical staff are involved in the design process and work in collaboration with colleagues from other mental health trusts.

“We are looking for opportunities to influence what is delivered within each software release so that more functionality is delivered sooner and we are exploring ways to improve development/deployment cycles.”

However, these plans stalled as Fujitsu entered a failed contract reset. The trust now says the switch to ePEX is a redirection, which will only be reviewed when “a new CRS product has been identified and deployment plans had been agreed.”