The Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester has switched off Cerner Millennium in A&E and moved to Patient First.

The electronic patient record system will also be switched off for theatres and order communications at the old Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust.

Basingstoke and North Hampshire NHS Foundation Trust merged with Winchester and Eastleigh in January this year to form Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Winchester and Eastleigh received Cerner Millennium as part of the National Programme for IT in the NHS in February 2007.

At the time of the merger, the trust was using Millennium as its patient administration system, for order communications, and in A&E, theatres, and maternity.

However, Basingstoke and North Hampshire was pursuing an alternative IT strategy, built around a ‘best of breed’ approach to building on its existing systems.

The A&E at Royal Hampshire County Hospital has now moved on to Patient First from MSS, the system in use at the Basingstoke site.

Hampshire Hospitals IT director Andy Thomas said the new merged trust is going through the process of moving on to single systems and single instances of common systems and that these decisions are being driven by clinicians.

He explained that the head of emergency medicine in Winchester elected to go with Patient First and described the move as a “fairly straightforward process."

“We haven’t suffered much backlash from an IT perspective,” he said.

Clinicians have also elected to deploy Newgate Technology’s Sapphire theatre system – already in use at Basingstoke – which will be rolled out to Winchester and Eastleigh in October.

Sunquest’s ICE will provide order communications across the new trust, replacing Cerner.

A decision is yet to be made about what to do with the two maternity systems, which are provided by Cerner and CSC, formally iSoft, which also provides Basingstoke’s PAS.

The two PAS contracts come to an end in 2015, and Thomas said the trust is working closely with the other Southern Cerner ‘live’ sites on what to do next.

Thomas said the costs around expanding Cerner across the whole of the trust are unclear, but he knows exactly how much the CSC PAS will cost.

“ISoft (CSC) is not a huge cost to us, but in comparison to what Cerner might be, who knows?”

He explained that the clinicians chose which systems to use and it was not a case of Winchester and Eastleigh being merged with Basingstoke and being forced on to its systems.

He said while it looks like the trust is moving away from Cerner, the best of breed approach means it could go back and might chose Cerner for maternity as the department has done a lot of work with the company to develop the product.

“Clinicians from both sides decided which systems to move to. IT went out to the community to say ‘if you had to choose, what would you be choosing?’

“The key is to make sure the clinical teams are using the systems they want to use.”

Another big challenge facing the trust is moving all the sites on to a single instance of ICE, JAC’s e-prescribing system and the WinPath pathology system, which Thomas hoped to have completed over the next year.

Hampshire Hospitals is also embarking on an inhouse open source development of a web-based portal to allow staff access to all the systems in place, thereby providing an electronic patient record.

Thomas described the portal in development as “putting the power of the clinical five at the fingertips.”

Read more about the open source development in the ‘Two become One’ feature in Insight.