IT problems scupper practice-based commissioning

Practices in North Somerset have been unable to commission new services, because of IT problems at the local hospital.

DoH guidance dating from 2006 requires PCTs to provide practices with data on areas including elective activity and referral rates.

Practices use this data to decide which services to spend their practice-base commissioning (PBC) budgets on. 

But practices in North Somerset say that they were receiving no data until late last winter. One practice manager says that her colleagues have been ‘tearing their hair out'.

The difficulties stem from problems with Cerner Millennium, the IT system used at Weston General Hospital. 

As a result, North Somerset PCT received very poor data to pass on to practices.

The practice manager said the problems had made it impossible to implement PBC. 

Weston Area Health NHS Trust say that the computer problems have now been fixed, and data has begun to reach practices.

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