Cancer patients faced delays in hospital appointments because of issues implementing an electronic patient record system at Rotherham Foundation Trust.

The trust has confirmed that a ‘small number’ of cancer patients had delays in their initial appointments. Professor John  Lee, director of cancer services, said: ‘We undertook a comprehensive review to ensure those patients whose appointments had been delayed did not have their cancer treatment plan affected in any way.’

The trust added that six patients who had cancer and faced initial delays were still seen within the 62 day referral to start of treatment target for cancer patients.

The problems with the EPR led to the trust ‘losing’ 5000 outpatient slots between June and August last year – which cost it £1.4m in income. It has also missed the 62 day target for cancer patients and other targets in recent quarters, according to Monitor.  

A letter from Monitor, outlining why the trust has been found in significant breach of its terms of authorisation, says ‘data quality remains a significant risk’ and the trust can’t rely on coding, case mix or activity data from the RPR system. It reveals that the EPR system is now forecast to cost around £40m against an original budget of £30m but there is also uncertainty around the costs to sort out the implementation issues. The trust is likely to make a record of deficit of £6m to £7.5m this year.