The Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust is evaluating the results of the three month rescue programme to fix known problems in its Cerner Millennium system.

Trust board papers state that on 6 October, BT, the local service provider for London, together with the London Programme for IT and the trust, began a 90-day programme of remedial work to fix 22 known problems in the Care Records System.

In a statement to E-Health Insider last week, the trust said the programme had been "moving forward steadily" and is now being evaluated.

Problems with Millennium were highlighted by this week’s House of Commons Public Accounts Committee report into the National Programme for IT in the NHS, which noted there had been "serious problems with existing deployments."

The report also raised concerns about prospects for the future of the other strategic care record system due to be delivered to the NHS in England, Lorenzo. So far, it is being used on a limited basis by just one primary care trust and one acute trust.

The PAC argued that if deployments do not pick up in six months, the Department of Health should allow trusts to choose their own systems and have them paid for centrally.

This assessment was supported yesterday by the NHS Confederation. In an uncharacteristic foray into healthcare IT, the NHS management body said the time was fast approaching for tough decisions to be made.

Policy director Nigel Edwards said: “Everyone recognises the potential of the programme and is frustrated at the delays. However, having spent so much money both in funding the system and keeping it running, the time is quickly approaching to make tough decisions on what the future of the project should be.”

Referring to electronic care record systems he said: “Many of our members still do not know if they are going to get a system that works or does the things that they want it to do."

In June 2008, Royal Free became the first trust in the country to go-live with a Cerner Millennium London Configuration Release 1 CRS (LC1), which is spine compliant and meant to offer the model for all future implementations in the capital.

Following go-live, however, the trust experienced serious problems, like Barts and the London NHS Trust before it. All further Cerner deployments in London have been shelved.

Future delivery plans are now based on dropping the original National Programme for IT in the NHS model of standardised systems and instead moving to much more local configuration and customisation.

Asked about the progress of the rescue programme, BT said: “Good progress has been made, with a significant proportion of the work being completed before Christmas. With the agreement of the trust, we continue to improve the experience of end users on some non critical items which are being completed outside the plan.”

BT declined to comment on whether the reset of its local service provider contract for London had been completed. “In managing transformational programmes of this size, scale and length it is normal practice for BT to review requirements with our partners on a regular basis," it said in its statement. "This helps us to ensure that we meet the needs of the NHS as its priorities and requirements shift over time.”