A hospital computer system for patient records which cost more than £2 million to set up is being scrapped.

Worthing and Southlands Hospitals NHS Trust is abandoning the Cerner Millennium programme because of its planned merger with the Royal West Sussex NHS Trust.

The new trust, which is expected to begin on April 1, will use a system called Helix currently being used by the Royal West Sussex and previously used by Worthing.

Worthing has had numerous problems with Cerner since it was installed in September 2007.

Staff complained it was difficult to manage and wasn't properly recording all the work being done.

Other problems with Cerner include staff being unable to locate or track patients or case notes, its inability to record A&E procedures and its inability to print and annotate patient lists or labels for specimens being sent for tests.

Tad Matus, from the South East Coast Strategic Health Authority, which has been overseeing the switch to the new system, said: "We can't have a merged organisation working with two different systems so either Worthing or the Royal West Sussex had to adapt.

"With hindsight, if we had known of the merger then we probably would not have gone ahead with the installation at Worthing.

"However, there had not been any indication of that when we made the original decision."

Nationally there are now plans for a major new IT programme for trusts in London and the South East but that is still being developed.

A spokeswoman for Worthing and Southlands trust said: "It is more sensible to transfer Worthing and Southlands to a familiar system still being used at the Royal West Sussex than to move them to an entirely new platform on a temporary basis."

The Cerner programme was provided as part of the Government's £12.7 billion scheme to update NHS IT systems across Britain.

Several trusts across the country have experienced similar technical problems with Cerner.

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