An NHS hospital may have to revert to an old computer system to manage its operating theatres after experiencing problems with its replacement.

St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust posted in board papers published this September that it had uncovered “several serious issues” during the clinical testing stage for GE Healthcare’s Opera theatre management system, which was due to go live in April 2015.

The papers add: “The new system has a number of failings, most importantly the generation of electronic operating notes. However, the supplier has taken on board all the trust’s comments and is committed to resolving them.”

The trust agreed it needs a fit for purpose system to be available by December 2015 and that a fall-back solution is the continued use of CSC’s Ormis system, although “this is not a preferred solution.”

As reported in trust board papers published in June, the contract for the Ormis system continues until July 2016, after which the trust would have to a purchase a new £50,000 interface and would incur a recurrent monthly cost of £10,000.

The trust also says that Ormis is “soon to become obsolete”. Ormis is one of a number of older clinical systems that CSC installed at trusts on an interim basis, when it ran into development and deployment delays with its Lorenzo electronic patient record, during the National Programme for IT.

In a joint statement to Digital Health News, GE and St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals said they have been working together on fixing the issues in Opera and the system is on course to replace Ormis in summer 2016.

The statement said: “During the testing stage, GE and the trust identified several improvements that could be made to suit the trust’s specific workflow needs.

“Since then, the majority of improvements have been developed and are to be made available in the latest release to the trust, with further deployment of the remaining few improvements to be arranged. GE is continuing to work with the trust to ensure a safe and successful system implementation.”

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde also uses the Opera theatre management system. In a statement to Digital Health News it said: “We have not encountered any issues with the Opera system that would prompt us to reconsider continued use of the system.

“It serves us well and we envisage that it will continue to develop as our theatre management system of choice through to the end of the NHS Scotland contract period.”

The Opera system is one of several IT projects at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals which have a ‘red’ warning status, according to the September board papers.

Other red projects include electronic prescribing, which has been delayed by six months due to “resource issues” in the trust’s pharmacy department that have impacted on the build.

The project to create a clinical portal is “progressing well”, according to the trust, but is red due to external delays on the supplier side.

More successful IT projects include the implementation of the electronic modified early warning score system, which is on track to go live at the end of October 2015.

St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals has also recently completed the go-live of informatics system ICNet and upgraded to Windows 7 across 4,500 devices.