The second primary care trust to deploy TPP’s urgent care solution has stopped using the mobile solution because of problems with poor reception.

NHS Northamptonshire told EHI Primary Care that it had reduced use of the mobile solution to testing by one or two GPs because poor reception in some areas prevented reliable connection. The same problem is also affecting use of TPP’s community module used by Northamptonshire community nurses working remotely.

The PCT said it was considering introducing roaming SIM cards and awaiting arrival of TPP’s briefcase solution as possible answers to the problem. A spokesperson for TPP said its briefcase solution was in pilot phase.

A spokesperson for NHS Northamptonshire told EHI Primary Care that as SystmOne is hosted in a Connecting for Health accredited data centre, it is possible to connect to this database using mobile devices with BT VPN N3 secure tokens and mobile devices that have smart card readers incorporated.

He added: “Unfortunately Northamptonshire does have several poor reception areas that prevent such devices reliably connecting. A primary care centre also has to enable mobile GP access and the administrative controls for this are under review. Therefore remote access has been reduced to one or two GPs who continue to test remote access (or mobile working).”

The spokesperson said poor reception areas were also affecting community nurses who were working remotely with the SystmOne community module.

He added: “TPP SystmOne is in a testing phase with a "briefcase solution" that would avoid poor reception and consideration is also being given to the use of roaming SIM cards that might improve reception and avoid poor coverage from a single provider.”

Problems with loss of connection are also covered in a report by out-of-hours expert Dr David Carson on use of TPP’s out-of-hours solution by West Yorkshire Urgent Care Services – a report which the West Yorkshire PCTs and TPP have since said “did not enjoy consensus”.

Dr Carson’s report said SystmOne could only be used and updated when the laptop is connected to the server. It claimed that while sessions are supposed to retain information for 30 minutes when connection is lost this feature was “not reliable”.

Dr Carson’s report added: “A more frequent result of losing connection is the machine seems to freeze and the staff then restart the machine with loss of any data entered after the connection was lost.”

TPP told EHI Primary Care it did not want to comment beyond the PCT statement on Northamptonshire but stated that its briefcase solution was in a pilot, not testing, phase.