Rotherham asks Monitor to back off

  • 10 March 2014
Rotherham asks Monitor to back off
Rotherham General Hospital

The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust is to ask Monitor to relax its oversight of its Meditech v6.0 electronic patient record programme.

The trust experienced severe problems with its EPR deployment, after going live in June 2012. These led to it stopping all go-lives and to intervention by the foundation trust regulator.

The trust submitted a recovery plan to Monitor in May last year, and its February board papers say it hopes to be in a position to provide Monitor with evidence of its implemented actions next month.

The plans will be submitted “with a request to remove enforcement action” and to seek “the removal of undertakings in relation to EPR.”  

A spokesperson for The Rotherham told EHI that an independent assessment of progress in relation to meeting its compliance requirements would also be undertaken.

“The trust has internally assessed compliance measures, as required by Monitor. We are now at a stage that we have ‘stabilised’ the system and resolved many of the initial issues in relation to data quality/recording,” they said.

“The trust plans to submit a report to Monitor next month and, following this, we will be able to provide an update of key improvements.”

Monitor told EHI that once it has received the evidence from the trust it will look into its request and take appropriate action.

The regulator intervened at the trust in February last year after it found the trust in significant breach in terms of its authorisation, with its EPR implementation identified as a key issue.

The Rotherham’s problems with the EPR also resulted in the trust hiring an external consultant, Larry Blevins, to conduct a review of the system. Blevins created the recovery plan, which aimed to have the system running without any issues in 90 days.

Among other things, this resulted in a clinical re-engagement programme and re-working the EPR, beginning with a pilot called “the ortho project”, which aims to reduce the time clinicians spend inputting data.

 The project is now being deployed across several specialties.  EHI reported in November last year that the trust’s new informatics strategy says it plans to adopt a “best of breed approach to its EPR”.

The Rotherham was one of the first trusts to go outside the National Programme for IT for an EPR project, saying, at the time, that the financial and staffing pressures on it meant it could not wait for the programme to deliver technology to re-engineer its working processes.

The deployment of Meditech v6.0 was meant to cover the whole trust in a “big bang” go-live, including bed-management, A&E, order communications and a patient administration system.

However, the trust soon reverted to its old A&E system, Ascribe’s Symphony, due to “significant operational issues.” The trust is still using the system in A&E today, as it decides on how to move forward.

EHI understands the trust will continue to use TPP’s SystmOne for its community services. The trust has also developed a front-end “skin” for the Meditech system to improve functionality.

 The SEPIA software provides information and reporting functions that the EPR is currently unable to provide. The trust wants to eventually develop the in-house system into a full clinical portal to join up the Rotherham’s clinical systems.

The Meditech v6.0 EPR is also in use at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation where it is working well. Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust also plans to take the system.

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