PERFORMANCE: Monitor is to investigate Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust following concerns that a problematic implementation of an electronic patient record system has hit its finances.

  • Monitor to investigate Cambridge University Hospitals FT finances
  • Probe follows providers’s problems implementing eHospital patient record system.
  • Software problems contributed £4m to trust’s £10.3m in-year deficit

The FT watchdog is looking at whether the way the trust’s eHospital system has been introduced and managed suggests wider problems with trust governance and finances.  

The trust is predicting a significant deficit for the end of the 2015-16. In May it reported an in-year deficit of £10.3m, with costs relating to managing the eHospital system contributing £4m.

Addenbrooke's Hospital

The trust chief executive apologised to local GPs after concerns were raised last year

The system, provided by US company Epic, was launched in October. It was the first rollout of the well regarded online platform by an NHS trust.

In November trust chief executive Keith McNeill apologised to local GPs after concerns were raised about delays to emergency care, patient appointments and the delivery of pathology test results, following the system’s “go live”.

Dr McNeill’s message was circulated after the trust declared a “major incident” on 1 November when the Epic system became “unstable” shortly after going live.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough region was named as one of 11 “challenged health economies” last year.  

Stephen Hay, managing director of provider regulation at Monitor, said: “This investigation will include how the trust handled the introduction of a major new IT system.

“We want to know more about the nature of the problems and will explore what can be done to improve things on behalf of patients in Cambridge.”

A trust spokesman said: “The significant investment this year in eHospital is having an impact on our finances, with efficiency benefits increasing as the system becomes fully embedded

“We will work closely with Monitor as they undertake their investigation, and we remain focussed on improvement. Regular updates will be provided to Monitor on progress with our financial recovery and operational improvement plans.

“We also continue to work closely with NHS colleagues to address our financial issues, and those of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough region.”