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Royal Free Hospital: Medical Records

Volume 488: debated on Friday 27 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what (a) estimate he has made of the cost and (b) assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the computerised record system at the Royal Free Hospital. (259780)

The strategic Cerner Millennium system at the Royal Free Hospital went live on 15 June 2008. It has been widely reported that, following a successful go-live, initial operation did not go as smoothly as everyone involved would have wished, and that the problems experienced affected trust performance. The local service provider, BT, and the system supplier, Cerner UK, with the close involvement of the London Programme for IT, addressed the problems as a matter of urgency, and service enhancements have been implemented incrementally since October 2008.

The trust has reported that the system became stable in its operation following changes made in November and December 2008. A small amount of additional functionality was added in mid-January and, by the end of January 2009, the trust confirmed that the system was fit to be deployed at other acute hospitals in London.

Lessons have been learned from the deployment at the Royal Free Hospital, which now has an effective patient record system. These lessons will help to improve future deployments.

The cost of deploying the computerised record system at the Royal Free Hospital, as at other trusts, has three components. A one-off deployment charge is paid when the trust has accepted the system. An ongoing monthly service charge is then made for the live service, and there will be local costs associated with preparation, deployment and support. The agreed deployment charge for full deployment of all bundles of service at the Royal Free Hospital is £4.676 millions at 2003-04 prices, and the monthly service charge £33,644 per month. Information is not held centrally about the local costs, which will vary from trust to trust.