Kingston Hospital NHS Trust plans to go live with Cerner Millennium on 30 November, in what has become a critical milestone for the £12.7 billion NHS IT programme.

If successful, the South West London NHS trust will become the first in the capital to go live with the US system in 18-months.

In an exclusive interview with E-Health Insider, Kingston’s chief executive, Kate Grimes, said she was as confident as she could be. “We’ve met all of the criteria we set and as far as I’m concerned we are going live on 30 November.”

In her interview, Grimes said her priority was to make sure the trust’s switch from its old Clinicom system to Cerner happens smoothly.

"We are focused on getting back to business as usual as quickly as possible, as its such a major change for the organisation and all 2,700 staff.”

However, she also emphasised that the trust expects significant benefits from moving from a green screen administrative system to an up to date clinical records system.

The Department of Health’s chief information officer, Christine Connelly, has set the end of November as the deadline for the NHS’ ‘strategic’ electronic patient record systems to make "significant progress" in the acute sector.

A successful go-live at Kingston is the marker set for London’s local service provider, BT, and its main software provider, Cerner.

No NHS trust in London or the South of England has implemented the Millennium care records system since the disastrous experience of the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust in 2008. 

Problems cost the Royal Free up to £10m in lost revenue, led to patients having to wait longer for appointments, and derailed the NHS IT programme in London.

"The system we are taking is the same as the Royal Free, with 16 major fixes,” Grimes told EHI.

Kingston had been due to go-live immediately after the Royal Free. Grimes said that although the delays had meant some re-training for staff, they had also given the trust more time to prepare and to learn from the experience of previous implementations.

Full interview: EHI’s interview with Kate Grimes is in Opinion and Analysis.