STRUCTURE: The delayed transfer of community services in Milton Keynes could end up being almost a year late, a senior staff member at the local acute trust has said.

David Powell, head of information management and technology at Milton Keynes Hospital Foundation Trust, made the remarks at a Microsoft health conference in London on 30 June.

He said that the planned transfer of services from Milton Keynes Primary Care Trust to the hospital, which is among the last to be completed as part of the transforming community services programme, was “high on the agenda” for the trust.

“The target [for transfer] is November – whether it will [happen] or not is not totally clear,” he said.

He added that the transfer “probably will happen – but might slip into next March”.

The original deadline for PCTs to divest themselves of community services was April this year, although 29 transfers were delayed either because the organisations taking them on were not ready, or because of capacity problems at Monitor.

In April, the Milton Keynes transfer was the only one described by the DH as not having made “substantial progress”.

Mr Powell said that integration of community and acute services could bring an opportunity to collaborate with local non-foundation trusts.

He also said the trust would be keen to integrate its acute and community electronic patient record systems. The community services provider currently uses the Rio system, supplied under the national programme for IT, while the hospital trust uses Amalga, by Microsoft.

Feeding Rio into Amalga “would allow us to have a single health record across the health economy”, Mr Powell said.