It will cost £7m to fix an NHS IT system that led to as many as 14,600 patients being discharged from hospital without vital medical notes being sent to their GP, the government has admitted.
HuffPost UK revealed earlier this month that the ‘Lorenzo’ patient records system at Lister Hospital in Stevenage had potentially failed to send thousands of discharge summary letters – which include important information about medications and test results – to local doctors.
An urgent investigation into the incident was launched by East and North Hertfordshire Hospital NHS Trust at the time, with calls for the deaths of 1,000 patients who had been discharged since the new system was introduced to be probed.
Now, parliamentary questions submitted by the Labour Party have uncovered that it will cost an estimated £7m for the trust to stabilise its IT systems.
The Lorenzo software system was first introduced at the hospital in September 2017, reportedly sparking immediate complaints from local GPs.
However, to date the trust has not discovered any “specific harms” as a direct result of the IT blunder, Labour’s queries found.
It has set up a ‘Task and Finish’ group – made up of members of the trust, Hertfordshire GPs and the local clinical commissioning group – to look into the status of unsent discharge summaries.
It has also been revealed that the controversial patients record system – which was branded “hopeless” by former Commons Public Accounts Committee chair Margaret Hodge in 2013 – is currently used at 21 NHS trusts in England.
The list includes:
- Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
- East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust
- East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust
- George Eliot Hopsital NHS Trust
- Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust
- Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust
- Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust
- Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
- North Bristol NHS Trust
- North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust
- Royal Brompton and Harefield Foundation Trust
- Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust
- Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust
- Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust
- University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust
- University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust
- Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust
- Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth called for a full review of the Lorenzo system, arguing that “years of budget cuts under the Tories have left NHS patients at risk from out of date technology”.
“It’s simply astonishing how much public money has been wasted and that thousands of patients have been affected by these IT errors,” he added.
East and North Hertfordshire Hospital NHS Trust and NHS Digital have been contacted for comment.