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MMR records hit by IT chaos

By Lilian Anekwe

PCTs in London are facing fresh delays to a new computer system designed to keep a record of childhood immunisations given in general practice.

The problems will threaten the MMR catch-up campaign in London, where only half of children had received the first and second dose of the vaccine by their fifth birthday.

The IT system was due to replace the failed Child Health Interim Application (CHIA), which had proved incapable of keeping accurate records of how many children had been given the MMR vaccine.

BT, the system's provider, had been scheduled to deliver the new RiO program by the end of the year, but admitted this week the system would not be in place for at least another six months.

A BT spokesperson said: ‘It will be difficult to give an absolute guarantee to go live dates as these are complex systems.'

The latest IT delays are a blow to London PCTs, which were given £60,000 each by the Department of Health to run an MMR catch-up campaign in August, ‘to reflect the higher ratio of children requiring MMR'.

BT and NHS London were quick to distance the latest delays from the historically low uptake in London.

The BT spokesperson said: ‘We recognise that there have been some issues with CHIA, but there is no proven link between CHIA and low immunisation rates.'

A spokesperson for NHS London said the computer chaos was ‘not the only reason' for London's low uptake.

‘IT systems are not the only reason why London has a low uptake. The vast majority of GPs have excellent IT systems. ‘

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