Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust is implementing new IT systems as part of its response to the problems with cancer pathways that led to it being put into ‘special measures’ last year.
An update to the trust’s board of directors, which met in public last week, says the trust has now installed the Somerset system for collecting cancer waiting times and tracking the progress of treatment.
A report on an ‘immediate review’ of cancer services at the trust, ordered by NHS England after staff complained to the CQC that waiting times were being falsified, found that the trust had bought the Somerset Cancer Information System in 2010.
However, the December report said it had never been implemented, leaving the trust using multiple, separate systems including paper that required staff to enter information multiple times and unable to access real-time data.
The improvement plan update says Somerset has now been implemented and data migration is complete. The trust has also created a contact centre for suspected cancer referrals from GPs, and was due to handle two week waits through Choose and Book from last month.
Overall, the trust is working through 331 recommendations from various reviews by regulators, and hopes its response will be “largely complete” by 31 December this year.
Kim Hodgson, the trust’s new chief executive, told the board that the trust was “on the road to recovery.” It will remain in special measures until Monitor is satisfied.
A separate police investigation was launched into the claims that waiting times were falsified to meet cancer treatment time targets.
Another action taken by the trust has been to implement processes for reviewing adjustments on the cancer waiting times database, to make sure they comply with national guidance.
Colchester has a bigger IT programme to replace its legacy McKesson patient administration system, Totalcare, and to “move its systems forward 50 years” by implementing a portal.
The trust was due to implement the Medway PAS last summer, but this has been delayed. In an email to EHI last month, a trust spokesperson said: “I am told that we are targeting late summer/early autumn, and the planning is underway.”