Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust has spent £4.6m on external consultants for its Cerner Millennium electronic patient record programme since April 2012.

Information released to EHI under the Freedom of Information Act reveals that its total internal budget for the EPR deployment, being delivered by BT under the National Programme for IT, is £14m.

Over the past 18 months, 55 different consultants have worked on the EPR project at some point and 27 are currently working on it.

There are also 45 trust staff working directly on the Millennium implementation. Imperial deployed the first module of its EPR – order communications – in September 2011.

Plans to roll-out the patient administration system and maternity module have been consistently delayed throughout 2013. The trust confirmed in July that the next phase will not go ahead until next year.

An Imperial spokesperson said introducing Cerner is a large and complex change project and Imperial is one of the largest acute hospital trusts in the country.

“We employ contractors to work alongside trust staff to make sure that we have all the knowledge and skills required and that we benefit from recent experience of Cerner implementations at other trusts,” the spokesperson said.

“There is a range of recruitment companies that we use to source these staff depending on the skills required.”

The trust told EHI that is has calculated the total cost of the EPR project from the full launch of Cerner Millennium in October 2011.

As order communications was deployed in September 2011, the costs of that go-live are presumably not included.

Imperial also said it could not provide a figure for the amount spent on consultants between the project launch date in October 2011 and April 2012 because expenditure was not recorded separately from other project work.

EHI reported in August that another Cerner trust, Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, had spent £16.6m on external consultants working on its Millennium implementation.

Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, which went outside of NPfIT to procure an EPR, said it had employed 213 consultants at a cost of £16.6m since the inception of the programme.

The trust related a significant proportion of its costs to the need for extra staff to correct serious data migration issues after go-live and to help run the system.