Problems implementing digital patient records ‘letting down patients’

16th November 2023

Today the Health and Social Security Scrutiny Panel (the Panel) questioned the Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Karen Wilson, in a Quarterly Public Hearing.

The Minister outlined significant problems in the implementation of digitalisation plans for healthcare services, particularly with the continued roll-out of the electronic patient record. The Minister, echoing the views of the Panel, said that these issues 'are letting down patients' and have caused problems for both clinicians and patients. Remedial work is now being done to try to find solutions, as well as to mitigate risk through training.

The Panel also heard:

  • Some key strategies such as the Primary Care Strategy have been delayed amid timing pressures. The Panel was concerned by the continued delay as well as the impact that this will have on other strategies and work in the department as a whole.

  • The Minister is looking for a strategic solution to global workforce recruitment problem, with vacancies still being a significant issue across the department.

  • Both Medicines (Jersey) Law 1995 and the Misuse of Drugs (Jersey) Law 1978 will need a 'complete overhaul' to make them fit for purpose, particularly in the context of the growing medicinal cannabis industry in Jersey. This may include a clause to regulate the prescribing of medical cannabis.

  • There is work being done to update the Termination of Pregnancy Law. Consultation is currently being undertaken, with feedback from members of the public due to be published by the end of the year.

  • Culture within maternity services is still poor, although some evidence collected from the 'Be Heard' Survey suggests that some improvements have been made.

Deputy Rob Ward, Chair of the Panel, said:

"Several issues have been raised during this hearing which the Panel are concerned by. Not only are the issues with digital patient records damaging to Jersey's ability to deliver quality care to patients, but these run alongside serious problems such as long waiting lists and recruitment issues in the department as a whole. We look to the Minister to continue to work to solve these issues. We also urge her to progress quickly with her strategy work, to ensure there is a decisive and considered way forward for producing long term solutions to improve Jersey's Health Service.' 

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