How’s that healthcare database idea working in Britain?  Hospital boss says £12bn IT system means fewer patients can be seen.

An NHS hospital boss criticised the new computerised medical records system today, saying it had cost his trust an extra £10m and meant fewer patients could be seen.

Andrew Way, chief executive of Hampstead’s Royal Free hospital, in north-west London, said his staff were “incredibly disappointed” with the IT upgrade on trial at the hospital since last summer.

The National Programme for IT (NPfIT) aims to create a centralised medical records system for 50 million patients in England at a cost of more than £12bn.

The government believes this will benefit patient care and could prove vital in an emergency.

At current rates, 12 billion pounds is over $17 billion US dollars.

The introduction of the system has also caused a £10m problem for the trust. The trust is in discussion with other parts of the NHS to seek to resolve this financial issue.”

Way told the BBC: “I have personally apologised for the decision to implement the system before we were really clear about what we were going to receive. I had been led to believe it would all work.”

He said the hospital had spent an extra £4m to get the system working, with added administration costs including 40 extra staff to handle the additional workload.

He said a further £6m was effectively lost because of fewer patients, and problems with the system meant the hospital was unable to bill other parts of the NHS for work done.

Ten million pounds is $14.4 million.

Obstacles:

The PAC said the completion date of 2014-15, four years later than originally planned, was in doubt.

Security fears have also been raised over the confidentiality of patient medical records.

It emerged yesterday that pharmacists would be able to read them, prompting concerns from doctors’ leaders and campaigners.

Congress is on the brink of instituting the same kind of system for over 300 million Americans.

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