Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust may be on the brink of abandoning its Lorenzo implementation, following continuing concerns and difficulties around implementing the system, E-Health Insider has learned.

Pennine Care is meant to be the first mental health trust to take the electronic patient record system from iSoft under the National Programme for IT in the NHS.

One mental health trust, one acute trust – University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust – and one primary care trust – NHS Bury – are required to go live with Lorenzo to trigger key NPfIT contract milestones and payments to local service provider CSC and to iSoft.

Sources have told E-Health Insider that Pennine Care is struggling with the system and may not only further delay its go-live but drop the implementation altogether.

Massive NHS reorganisation is also forcing the trust to re-think its approach to IM&T. One source told E-Health Insider: “The three PCTs in the area will be affected by the move of the provider arms to Pennine Care and all three PCTs are on different pathways.

"The question that they are facing now is how far can they keep pushing this [implementation] back and is dropping Lorenzo the only option.”

The trust was meant to go live with Lorenzo Release 1.9 in November 2009 but has pushed back its go-live date several times following problems at Morecambe Bay, which went live with the system in June.

At the beginning of the summer, the Department of Health said Pennine Care along with Birmingham Women’s NHS Foundation Trust and Kettering General Hospital would go live “over late summer and early autumn.”

When EHI asked Pennine Care if it is still planning to go live with Lorenzo and when the go live is scheduled, the trust declined to comment; although it later issued a statement saying it was "committed" to the programme and reviewing its options for go-live.

EHI understands that Birmingham Women’s now plans to go-live at the beginning of November and Kettering will go live before the end of the year.

However, EHI has been told that Birmingham Women’s early November go-live date is unlikely to be achieved, with delays into 2011 now a possibility.

Last month, NHS director general of informatics Christine Connelly told EHI that CSC must be successful in deploying Lorenzo R1.9 at Morecambe Bay, Birmingham Women’s, NHS Bury and Pennine Care to get past the early adopter release key milestone.

The failure of Pennine Care to deploy Lorenzo could have massive implications for CSC, which is expected to receive a large cash payment only when all four key early adopter sites successfully go-live.

CSC is still in contract negotiations with the DH around what will happen if it is not successful in deploying Lorenzo, as well as remedial plans to further deploy the system across the NME.

Earlier this year, trusts were given the option to opt out of taking Lorenzo and instead continue with their current system or implement one of their own choice without facing financial penalties.

Although no figure has been formally confirmed EHI has been told by a range of sources that 50-70 trusts will continue to take Lorenzo.

After publishing the story above, EHI gave Pennine Care a further opportunity to comment, and received the following statement:

“Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust remains committed to the National Programme and implementation of Lorenzo to support mental health services. In light of the work currently being undertaken at UHMB and NHS Bury to optimise the system and the corresponding impact on the Pennine project, we have undertaken a comprehensive review with CSCA to determine an achievable go live plan. This work is drawing to a conclusion and is currently being reviewed by the Trust Executive Team.”