Delays to the delivery of a Cerner Millennium electronic record system at Kingston Hospital NHS Trust have cost it more than £500,000 so far.

The trust says the earliest it may now go live is April 2009, although it currently has no planned go-live date. This has been “postponed indefinitely” until “issues in live trusts are resolved.”

Trust board minutes state the delay will “have both operational and financial implications.” The trust may seek compensation, “claiming lost expenditure” for the cost of staff training on the system that was meant to have been delivered by BT in late November. It says it would have been ready take the system on time.

A spokesperson for Kingston Hospital told E-Health Insider: “We remain fully committed to implementing the Care Records Service at Kingston Hospital. The delay to our go live date was the result of a decision made by NHS London to postpone all trusts within London.”

The spokesperson confirmed that costs had increased as a result: “The change to our go live date has raised the cost of the project at the trust, in terms of keeping teams involved in place and retraining staff as necessary. We are monitoring costs closely and will keep the situation under review.”

Because of the delay the hospital has had to negotiate extension deals with five current IT contractors, some of which are holding out for full one year deals. Contract extensions needed, include the current patient adminsitration system, InfoCom, Maternity and A&E.

Extending the trust’s existing iSoft PAS system for another year is predicted to cost Kingston £380,00, though the trust says NHS Connecting for Health is providing asssiatnce on negotiating a shorter notice period.

Kingston had to delay plans to go live after problems were experienced at Barts and the London NHS Trust and the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust. The problems at the Royal Free – the only trust to take the London Configuration Release 1 version of Millennium – resulted in all further implementations in the capital being suspended.

The Kingston board paper says of the situation in London: “Further go lives have been postponed and resources diverted towards resolving deployment issues in the four trusts already live. For KHT, the status of the Royal Free is the most important, being the only other trust using the LC1 version that we will use.”

Reported problems with the Cerner system are said to include lack of an acceptable 18 week referral to treatment time reporting solution. The paper says that the absence of an effective reporting solution is essential, but something that has “troubled all trusts, both live and in deployment”.

However, signs of progress at the Royal Free are noted in the November paper: “The trust’s implementation team are working with increasing confidence that the problems the RFH has encountered with these systems can be overcome.”

The paper concludes: “By end-January it should be clear whether or not the Royal Free is on a stable platform with a functional system. This is an essential pre-cursor to our go-live decision.” It adds that timing of a future go live “depends almost entirely on delivery dates from BT/Cerner” for requests for changes and other necessary fixes.