Mental health manager insists technology problems will not outweigh long-term benefits

Hellesdon Hospital, headquarters of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. Photo: Bill Smith

Hellesdon Hospital, headquarters of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2012

New technology rolled out across the region's mental health trust will bring long-term advantages according to managers, despite staff experiencing software problems.

A director of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is appealing for patience over the organisation's new patient record system, named Lorenzo, and the electronic rostering process to manage safe staffing levels.

It comes after newly-elected governor Peter Kemp, of Norwich, told the EDP he was concerned about the impact the computer problems were having on the trust, following a governors meeting yesterday.

The EDP launched its Mental Health Watch campaign last autumn.

Mr Kemp, who formally starts as a governor in February, said the computer problems were a hindrance to the trust, which is in special measures, and needed to be 'sorted out'.

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But Leigh Howlett, the trust's director of strategy and resources, said: 'We are now only eight months into a 10-year project to develop the best possible, single electronic patient record system we can.

'This has long been a key objective of ours, especially as we previously had 10 different patient information systems, including electronic and paper patient records, and a variety of local processes and documentation.

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'We are working with the suppliers of Lorenzo and NHS network experts, and 500 local issues have already been identified and put right, and we will continue to work on this as a priority.'

She added the trust was bringing in the e-rostering because it helped managers maintain safe staffing levels.

'This all helps us avoid the need to bring in more expensive agency staff at the last minute, as we can better forward plan staff rotas to have our own permanent staff effectively covering all shifts, or as many as possible,' she said.

'We have an e-rostering team which can be contacted at any time to look at specific issues and to support teams to make changes to their rosters to help with this.'

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