The deployment of a London Cluster Release 1 Care Records System at the St Mary’s campus of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust has been delayed by a month due to “significant uncertainties.”

The hospital was due to go live on 14 July with the Cerner Millennium system, but opted to defer deployment to the end of August after IT staff told the board “there were significant uncertainties over the scheduled go-live date being achievable.”

St Mary’s was initially due to launch the system on 27 May, but had to postpone after Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust delayed its go-live. The Royal Free went live on 16 June, but St Mary’s wanted longer than a month to make sure the system met its requirements.

In a joint statement, the trust, BT and the London Programme for IT, told E-Health Insider the delay will “allow for extra testing and assurance work, ensuring the quality and reliability of the new system when it goes live.”

The statement added: “This extra time will also allow the trust to share the knowledge and experience gained from the recent LC1 deployment at the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust, the first London acute trust to go-live with the system.”

A board paper from the trust indicates that the go-live could have been delayed to December. “A decision needed to be made whether to defer to August or December 2008. August was in the middle of the holiday season when many staff had planned annual leave and December was essentially a busy time of the year,” it says.

The trust said the decision to go-live in August was only reached recently, with St Mary’s staff being offered training with immediate effect.

In June, Kevin Jarrold, NHS London’s chief information officer and the London Programme for IT’s regional implementation director, confidently announced that five sites would go-live with LC1 in 2008. These included two of the three campuses – St Mary’s and Hammersmith – at Imperial.

However, Imperial’s board papers say the Hammersmith deployment will now go into early 2009. NHS Connecting for Health’s most recent 12 week deployment forecast, which runs up to 2 October, shows St Mary’s as the only PAS deployment scheduled in London in the next few months.

The next trust due to go-live, Kingston Hospital NHS Trust, told EHI it is now looking at later in October. St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust could not confirm its CRS deployment, which is due soon after Kingston’s launch.

Local newspaper coverage of the Royal Free implementation has claimed that the trust has suffered a “month of computer chaos.” A Royal Free spokesperson said some staff had experienced difficulties, but put these down to an initial training module not being identical to the live system.

A BT spokesperson told EHI that in all future deployments, staff will be trained on a similar but slightly different LC1 system to the one being installed.