Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust has signed a ten-year contract to retain Cerner Millennium using the London Procurement Partnership framework.

The trust’s director of information and facilities, Ian Mackenzie, told Digital Health News the trust signed with Cerner in October last year.

It has agreed a “like-for-like” contract, replicating what was available under the national contract.

The trust has implemented a lot of Millennium’s functionality since first going live with the EPR, as deployed by BT in 2007. This includes A&E, theatres, order communications, radiology, clinical noting and white boards.

It also piloted Cerner’s e-prescribing module last December in an inpatient ward, which means it can be included in the trust’s individual contract with the company.

“We wanted to implement functionality as under the contract. If we are live with something with BT then when we move it’s replicated into the Cerner data centre,” Mackenzie explained.

The trust plans to do a “data flip” into the Cerner data centre from the BT data centre later this month.

“All that does is effectively replaces the system as it is in the BT data centre. Users should see little or no difference.”

Mackenzie said BT has been helpful in preparing for the ‘flip’, as have Cerner and the Health and Social Care Information Centre, so the trust is not expecting any issues.

St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust moved into the Cerner data centre about a month ago and Mackenzie said Surrey and Sussex have talked to the trust to make sure that lessons have been learned.

“When we do ours we will be delighted to share our experience with others as well,” he added. “We [Cerner trusts] still work together well and hopefully will continue to do so.”

St George's was one of six (formerly nine) London trusts that received Cerner under NPfIT. Together, they set up a collaborative framework to re-procure systems beyond the end of their national contracts this October.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, along with Surrey and Sussex, have also used the framework to procure Millennium.

Mackenzie said the e-prescribing pilot late last year was a success and the trust is currently evaluating it, before planning a full trust roll-out.

Future plans also include going paper-lite in A&E, as it is already paper-lite in the minor injuries unit. “That would involve using all aspects of Cerner to replace paper across the whole department,” he said.

Surrey and Sussex has recently appointed a new chief clinical information officer, A&E consultant Ben Upton, and generally has good clinical engagement within the A&E department, which should help push that forward.

However, detailed plans of what will be rolled out over the next three years are still being finalised. 

“We want to move to paperless as quickly as we can, it’s a case of working out exactly what’s the best thing to do in what order,” Mackenzie said.

While the trust has procured a like-for-like contract with Cerner, it has the ability to buy other Cerner products without going out to procurement for them. Surrey and Sussex will move to the latest Millennium code base in January next year.