Hospital staff report "clinical incidents" after Cerner NPfIT go-live

North Bristol NHS Trust has reported 16 clinical incidents which it says are related to the implementation of a Cerner Millennium system in December 2011.The disclosure under the FOI Act suggests that the Cerner go-live under the NHS IT scheme...

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North Bristol NHS Trust has reported 16 clinical incidents which it says are related to the implementation of a Cerner Millennium system in December 2011.

The disclosure under the FOI Act suggests that the Cerner go-live under the NHS IT scheme has had implications that are potentially more serious than administrative confusion. The Trust has said in its public statements that the go-live has caused disruption for patients and frustration for staff but has not referred in those statements to any clinical incidents.

A BBC reporter asked the Trust how many 'clinical incidents' had been filed by staff in relation to problems encountered with the Cerner system from 9 December [the day after go-live] to the date of the FOI request on 17 January.

The Trust's reply on 14 February gave figures up to 17 January, as requested. "During December and up to January 17 there were 8 clinical incidents reported in each month (16 in total) relating to the new electronic patient record system. 

"These were all clinical incidents where the new system was cited as a causal factor, such as wrong patient wrong notes, lack of notes, incorrect clinic list," said the Trust.

The NHS usually separates clinical incidents into "near misses" and "actual harm" to patients. That breakdown is not available. Also unavailable are the numbers of any further clinical incidents relating to the system between 17 January 2012 and now.

The Trust said in its FOI response that its "robust safeguarding processes, as well as additional checks and balances in all departments, ensured that clinical safety was not compromised and no patients were put at risk".  It added: "Our priority is always patient safety and there is no indication that this has been affected."

Meanwhile the Department of Health has been asking NHS Trusts with Cerner systems to report the benefits of those implementations.