Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is planning a “re-launch” of its System C Medway patient administration system after suffering a series of post-implementation problems that caused waiting list backlogs.

The trust went live with the Medway PAS in May 2014, replacing its previous legacy McKesson Totalcare PAS which had been in use for more than 20 years.

A risk report in the trust’s February board papers says “post-implementation issues” with the PAS had led to a temporary increase in clinic reconciliation and waiting list update backlogs, causing “potentially avoidable delays in patient care”, underuse of clinics and deteriorating service.

The report says the trust is planning a “relaunch [of] the Medway system” in six to eight months to resolve technical issues, after it undertakes all necessary system and business changes.

Temporary staff have been recruited to tackle the backlogs and will remain in place “for the foreseeable future”, while additional PCs and memory upgrades have been implemented to improve the system’s performance.

In his report to the board, Chesterfield chief executive Gavin Boyle said that a project manager has been appointed for the PAS relaunch, with a project scope and plan being completed in conjunction with the trust’s separate divisions.

A Chesterfield spokesperson told EHI News that the trust had experienced “a large number of operational issues that had a substantial impact on patients and the general business of the trust”, due to the fact that the Medway PAS “is significantly more complex than the previous system”.

“Service deteriorated as backlogs of work increased, data quality declined and pressure on staff increased.”

The spokesperson said that many of the “teething problems” have been largely resolved as the PAS has bedded in at the trust after ten months of operation.

However, the trust is investing in a “review and refresh of all processes related to the PAS” ahead of its next system upgrade.

The review will assess all business processes related to patient administration, “with a view to consolidating standard operational procedures in operational departments throughout the hospital, in light of the experience that has been gained in using the new system”.

It will also review the system configuration to ensure the trust gets maximum benefits from the new PAS, while undertaking a refresh of staff training “to ensure that all users are fully equipped to use the system effectively and efficiently in their jobs”.

“The above measures should ensure that all patient administration processes, such as processing referral to treatment times are correctly and uniformly undertaken by all staff,” the spokesperson said.

“It will also prepare the trust to take further upgrades, establishing routine ‘business as usual’ processes.”

Markus Bolton, joint chief executive of System C, said: “Every deployment of a modern PAS/EPR requires significant process change and this inevitably leads to some disruption.

"Chesterfield is doing a first rate job of reviewing processes post-deployment, and making changes where necessary.”