Monitor has removed the ‘enforcement action’ it had placed on the Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust’s troubled Meditech electronic patient record system.

The foundation trust 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 trust experienced severe problems with its EPR deployment after going live in June 2012. Problems included serious issues with "clinician and staff acceptance and usability", lost appointments and inability to report on activity resulting in loss of income.

These led Rotherham pausing all further stages of go-live and an intervention by Monitor.

However, the trust has since worked hard to fix the issues, and as the system is now stable, the Rotherham believes it no longer needs Monitor’s oversight.

In June it submitted a report to the regulator asking it to “remove enforcement action” and to seek “the removal of undertakings in relation to EPR.”  

The Rotherham has now announced that Monitor has agreed to remove its undertakings in relation to the Meditech system, and Dr Trisha Bain, executive director for health informatics at the trust, said this was a fantastic achievement.

This reflects the hard work of both Health Informatics and Clinical staff engaged in the programme,” she said.

“The trust will continue to move forward at a pace in all of its clinical information systems for the benefit of our patients and staff.”

The trust hired an external consultant, Larry Blevins to conduct a review of the system and consequently then submitted a recovery plan to Monitor.

It then began a ‘clinical re-engagement programme’ and re-worked the EPR, beginning with a pilot to reduce the time clinicians spent inputting data. The pilot, which started off in one specialty is now deployed across several areas of the trust.

It also appointed a new clinical lead for informatics, Mr Richard Slater, who is a general surgeon at Rotherham General Hospital, as well as clinical leads in every specialty.

The trust said in a statement: “significant progress has been achieved in both the stability and governance of the EPR recovery programme that addresses issues in relation to the initial EPR implementation.”

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.” EHI understands that the trust is still using the system in A&E today, as it decides on how to move forward.

The Meditech v6.0 EPR in use at Rotherham 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.

EHI recently visited Rotherham to see how the trust is working on its EPR transformation programme. You can read more about that here.