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GP software glitch scrambles patients' records

A glitch in the clinical software used by GPs in Scotland has resulted in parts of patient notes being deleted or attached to other patients' records. Free text longer than 255 characters entered into medical records held on the GPASS system disappeared.

Other faults included prescriptions and labels being issued in one practice and printed in another place.

The problems are the latest to blight GPASS, which has come under fire from GPs in Scotland for being inferior to other clinical systems.

The problem, which only affects the older version of the software, was originally identified in 2004. But it was not thought significant until delays in rolling out version 5.5, which would fix the problem, revealed the problem had existed for far longer. Version 5.5 is only installed for 22 practices so far.

Dr Andrew McElhinney, chair of the GPASS User Group and a GP in Carronbank, Stirlingshire, said: 'This could potentially lead to dangerous or misleading effects where notes are incorrect.

'The Scottish Executive is being pushed to roll out the new version. There is now the option to make a business case to change software. It's in the best interests of GPASS to improve quickly.'

A rollout of a shared managed server has been suspended until further notice.

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