Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has decided to delay its implementation of Cerner Millennium until 2010.

Wirral, which has a reputation as being one of the most sophisticated users of IT in the NHS, had been due to go live with the system by the end November.

The November date for implementation of phase one was given in the trust’s 2009-2010 report to Foundation Trust regulator Monitor. Phase two of the implementation was set to follow a year later.

In a statement to E-Health Insider the trust said work on the system was “progressing well”. A spokesperson declined to say by when the implementation would happen other than saying it would happen “before” late 2010.

A new implementation date is expected to be agreed later this month. A spokesperson for the trust said: “The new date for implementation will be known in December, however they do know at this stage that it will not be ‘late 2010’ (or later).”

The trust says the delay is prudent due to the large amount of change underway at the organisation and the imminent appointment of a new Director of Information.

Gary Doherty, chief operating officer and deputy chief executive, said: "This is a major undertaking for our organisation, which coincides with restructuring of our outpatient clinics, the establishment of a new data centre and the normal increase in demand for our services we experience during the winter period.

"For this reason we have taken the decision with our colleagues at Cerner to revise the date on which phase one of Wirral Millennium will ‘go live’. We believe the organisation will be better able to embrace such a significant change once these other priorities have been addressed."

The trust also announced the appointment of Luke Readman as the new director of information. Readman is currently director of informatics at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Readman said in a trust statement: “I have been impressed at the way in which the Trust and Cerner are working in partnership to deliver a truly innovative system that makes use of the latest functionality.”

He added: “Wirral Millennium, a complete, multi-disciplinary electronic patient record, will provide the basis for evidence-based, standardised care plans which will mean better, more efficient services for patients.”

Wirral signed a direct contract with Cerner to provide it with a new Millennium clinical IT system in December 2008. The switch to a direct deal with Cerner followed the April 2008 exit of Fujitsu, the NHS National Programme for IT local service provider for the South of England. This superseded a deal Wirral had previously negotiated for Fujitsu to implement Cerner at Wirral, despite the trust being ‘out of cluster’ and being in the CSC region.

Wirral has a long and often frustrating history of seeking to implement Millennium as its new clinical IT system. The trust first announced in July 2005 that it had selected Cerner as its preferred provider to implement a new system that would replace its then 15-year old TDS hospital information system.