Guernsey Press

Digital health records system ‘set to arrive within budget’

A new digital system for patients’ health records is expected to cost nearly £3m. less than the maximum budget approved by the States four years ago.

Health & Social Care president Al Brouard. (33097200)

At that time, the cost of creating a single electronic record for each patient, to be used across all health services, was put at £15-20m.

Health & Social Care president Al Brouard yesterday dismissed speculation that the scheme was over budget.

‘The programme, which has incurred expenditure of £5.1m. to date, is on course at present to be delivered within the agreed cost envelope, which is about £17.3m., albeit we currently expect to be drawing down from the contingencies within it,’ said Deputy Brouard.

HSC later confirmed that contingency costs were included in its figure of £17.3m. rather than being in addition to it.

Following revelations last week that States staff kept HSC members in the dark for nearly a year about a £30m. increase in the estimated cost of redeveloping the Princess Elizabeth Hospital, some deputies, including Gavin St Pier, expressed fears that the electronic patient record scheme was either behind schedule or running over budget or both.

Deputy Brouard said the claims ‘provided an incorrect narrative’ and explained there had been no change in the timeline since a public announcement last summer.

‘The electronic patient record programme was originally aiming for a March 2024 launch, but that timeline was updated in July last year to a new target of the fourth quarter of 2024 for replacement [of the core system].

‘This was a decision taken to ensure the programme was progressed at the correct speed, rather than seeking to hit a deadline that could have resulted in unresolved issues.’

When the new system was approved, HSC said it would make a major improvement in the way digital health records were managed and used.

It is being provided by two companies, IMS Maxims, which will supply acute and mental health services, and the Access Group, which will supply community, child health and learning disability services.

According to the States website, training on the new system will start in August and it will be operating from October.