£18m 'wasted' on Royal Berkshire Hospital EPR system

Auditors reveal electronic patient records solution is worth £18m less after just one year

The knock-on effect of the Government’s failed NHS National Programme for IT continues with news this week that one hospital trust’s electronic patient record system (EPR) is worth £18m less than they paid for it after just one year.

The Royal Berkshire Hospital went live with Cerner’s Millennium system in 2012 as part of a £28m contract. But at a recent board meeting auditors estimated its current value at just £10.5m. The system has also been fraught with problems, including system crashes and the loss of patient appointments since it was deployed.

Carol Munt, chairman of South Reading Patient Voice, said the £18m could have been spent on ‘additional patient facilities, upgrading some of the buildings and new equipment’ adding: “It's an endless list and for it to be wasted in this way is a tragic shame.”

Hospital chief executive, Ed Donald, said he was disappointed, but that the hospital had budgeted for the amount.

He added: “Such large-scale projects as this throw up lots of issues and there have been lots of frustrations along the way both for patients and staff.

"We were over-ambitious in terms of the scale and pace with which we wanted to roll out the system, but we've learned from that."

Cerner defended the technology claiming that, when successfully implemented, it gave doctors and nurses ‘real-time access to high-quality clinical information’.

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