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Royal Berkshire puts back go-live

22 March 2012   Rebecca Todd

Royal Berkshire Hospital

Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust has delayed its go-live with Cerner Millennium while it resolves outstanding technical issues, which may include questions about hosting.

The trust was planning to go live with Millennium on 26 March. However, this has now been delayed - eHealth Insider understands for at least six weeks.

A joint statement from Cerner and the trust said go-live dates were always provisional and frequently change.

“This is a significant project and therefore the priority is to ensure that the implementation is as smooth and efficient as is possible to achieve.”

The statement said a “dress rehearsal” had been held by the trust which was successful, but there were still some technical issues to be resolved. The deployment would not be“unduly” delayed, the statement concluded.

A source close to the project told EHI that the “showstopping” reason for the delay was a problem with the hosting contract that Royal Berkshire has with CSC.

The trust agreed a seven-year outsourcing deal, with an option to extend to ten years, with CSC worth up to £50m last summer.

A CSC press release issued at the time said the deal meant the company had day-to-day responsibility for hosting, developing and managing much of the trust’s IT and back-office processes.

Computer Weekly reported last November that the contract would make CSC “responsible for running Cerner.”

It quoted Royal Berkshire head of health informatics Elizabeth White as saying that CSC would support Millennium and was in talks with Cerner about doing this, but the trust retained responsibility for the implementation.

EHI has been told there are questions over whether the CSC contract does cover the hosting of the new electronic patient record and that this is delaying the deployment.

However, having initially declined to comment, CSC said the delay was “in no way” related to its hosting contract with the trust. The company said it had signed a hosting contract covering Cerner Millennium in 2010, and hosting is run from one of its data centres.

When asked for further information, CSC referred EHI to the trust for comment and the trust said it would not be making any further comment beyond the joint statement.

Sources also said that the trust had set up a new configuration for Millennium that was causing some concerns, predictably around data migration.

“Testing suggested that not all the data was coming over cleanly and they could have problems around inpatient data and outpatients,” a source said.

Royal Berkshire quit the National Programme for IT in the NHS in 2008 and later signed a deal with University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre to deliver the Millennium system.

However, the deployment never seems to have gone smoothly. EHI understands that UPMC is still involved in the deployment, but it is being almost entirely handled by Cerner and the trust.

The project has also seen a number of changes of personnel. EHI sources have said there are issues regarding ownership of the programme within the trust, which is reportedly poor, that few trust staff are involved, and that there has been an over-reliance on contractors.

At the same time, there have been reports of problems at the top of the trust, with a clash between the trust chair and the chief executive.

The Reading Chronicle reported earlier this month that the board is looking to appoint a temporary chairman to replace Colin Maclean, who quit after 12 years.

Underlining the delays to the project, a Monitor Forward Plan Strategy Document for March 2012-14 says the implementation of phase one of the EPR system was due to be completed by the end of quarter three of this financial year.

Implementation of phase two was due to be completed by July 2012 and savings achieved over the 2013-14 financial year, the report says.

These are due to be realised “across pathology, change in working practices, task removals, error reductions, efficient delivery and improved coding.”

The report says the capital spend required by the trust on the EPR was £6.5m in 2011-12 and £3.5m in 2012-13.

It says the trust will also be investing £4.4m in IT infrastructure over this financial year which would “make it fit for purpose for maintaining and supporting EPR once it goes live.”

EHI Intelligence Profiles
EHI Intelligence


Related Articles:

22 News: Bacon calls for halt on Millennium | 19 January 2012
1 News: Royal Berkshire plans March go-live | 13 January 2012
17 News: UPMC team displaces Royal Berks staff | 9 July 2009
2 News: Foundation trusts tender outside NPfIT | 21 August 2008
Last updated: 22 March 2012 18:25

© 2012 EHealth Media.


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Same mistakes over and over......

george385 127 weeks ago

....in many cases this is squarely because some NHS managers (andeven recruitment consultants) look at experience as a bad thing (because they will have to pay more for it), and believe that anyone with a project management qualification can deliver any project. Experience doesn't come into it - of course data quality issues should have been addressed before migration. Either the underlying processes were flawed - or not followed - and if these were not fixed then the issues would resurface.

This is why the same mistakes are happening again, and again, and again.


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Laburn 127 weeks ago

Yet again, data migration rears its head. When will Trusts stop making the same mistakes again and again, not understanding the importance of tackling data quality and migration issues early enough in the process? Creating a new configuration of Millennium and not allowing enough time for testing and data rectification is always a recipe for disaster.


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CertaCitrus 127 weeks ago

Should Data Quality be tackled before the migration, ideally an ongoing process?


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Laburn 126 weeks ago

Good point Kevin. Of course Data Quality should be tackled before migration but it should also be seen as a continuing task and not just a one off. Data Quality continues to be a huge issue in every Trust due to the conflicting demands of operational users dealing with lots of patients and little time to process their details, and the information requirements of the Trust which are all about reporting both internal and mandated, and in particular affecting the income for the Trust.


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CSC Hosting Cerner - whatever flavour???

Daniel Defoe 127 weeks ago

I'm grappling too with this concept. CSC is an LSP, and which now owns iSoft, the potential provider of Lorenzo (although there's still silence about the requirement for an LSP not to own the application). Yet CSC outside of CfH is a "traditional" service provider, and presumably that's the situation in this case, and has, presumably, diddly squat to do with CfH.

What does surprise me is that there's a "problem with the hosting contract". It'll be interesting to know what the problem is; although I guess we never will.

Unless, FoIA anybody?


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A Witches Brew.

John Harry 127 weeks ago

CSC hosting Cerner? You must be kidding. I can't imagine a situation more designed for problems and failure, at least in the UK.


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