East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust has delayed the deployment of a new patient administration system, citing the risk of disruption to services.

The southern acute trust had been planning to go-live with an Allscripts PAS this month, after getting central funding for the system in June last year in a joint procurement with the neighbouring Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust.

However, board papers for a meeting on 9 December, show that a decision has been made to push back the go-live, which would “potentially enable the changeover to be less disruptive”.

During a meeting in November, the board were told the PAS implementation could lead to “further difficulty” meeting the 18-week Referral to Treatment target and delays in surgical intervention.

“The risk is one associated with patient safety and potential reputational damage.”

In a statement to Digital Health News, a trust spokesman said: “We have postponed the original go-live date to allow more time for ongoing development of the system – and to ensure that the new Allscripts PAS configures correctly with other systems within the Trust.”

The trust did not have a new go-live date but would “in the near future”, he said.

East Kent has been in special measures since August 2014, with the last Care Quality Commission inspection published in November 2015, giving it an overall rating of ‘requiring improvement’.

The trust is part of the South Acute Programme, a group of 23 southern trusts which failed to receive a system through the National Programme for IT. Together, these trusts have attracted £80 million in central funding for investments in health IT, which they will match with £100 million in local investment. 

As part of this programme, East Kent received £6 million in central funding to deploy an Allscripts PAS, as well as EuroKing maternity system.

The overall contract, including neighbouring Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells, was originally listed as being worth between £10 million to £40 million over ten years.

Maidstone and Tunbridge has also yet to go live with the Allscripts PAS, with plans to deploy in March next year.

The deal with the two trust was the first PAS contract that Allscripts finalised after acquiring the Oasis system. The PAS, now known as Allscripts PAS, is already in place at several other trusts, including Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust and Medway NHS Foundation Trust.

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