This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

pul jul aug2020 cover 80x101px
Read the latest issue online

Independents' Day

Hospitals being unable to see GP records is ‘downright dangerous’, says health secretary

The health secretary has described hospital trusts' inability to access GP records as 'downright dangerous'.

In a speech at NHS England's Health and Care Innovation Expo, health secretary Matt Hancock outlined his strategy to take NHS IT 'from the most mundane to the most exciting' but added that to do this NHS systems first need to 'talk to each other'.

This comes after NHS England announced a new scheme which will see GPs work off a record system shared between practices, trusts and local authorities, in an effort to improve patient safety.

Mr Hancock said: 'We know from painful experience that putting data in one big database is bad practice but likewise having thousand of databases that don’t talk to each other costs lives.

'A world in which we ask an ill patient many times over for their name and address is a problem. A world in which a hospital can’t pull up a patient’s GP record is downright dangerous so our systems need to be able to talk to each other.'

Mr Hancock also announced forthcoming standards that IT systems will be expected to meet if they are to be purchased by the NHS, including cyber security, privacy and interoperability standards, with existing systems expected to upgrade to meet the standards.

He said: 'No system will be bought that doesn't meet these standards. Existing systems will have to be upgraded to meet them.'




Readers' comments (10)

  • IT! IT! IT! When you think of me, think IT! That will save the NHS! (If a hospital has 30 patients needing beds that don’t exist the best IT system is worth sweet FA)

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • AlanAlmond

    Sell your shares in EMIS (if you had any)

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This boy visibly enjoys his toys. Doubt he understands much about healthcare or NHS (with its many problems). Doesn't really inspire confidence.. no more than Teresa's brexit preparations

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Some intelligece artificial or otherwise would be welcome. NPFIT coming back to haunt us, tech boys are probably ordering their yachts already.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Dear All,
    This is an expression of lack of area expertise that is very worrying.
    Paul C

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Are we going to stop patients declining online record sharing then?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I work as a GP in England and Wales each week, and for 2 separate OOH providers each month. I waste what I would estimate to be about 1/3 of ALL f2f time trying to clarify information about recent and past healthcare events for each patient. What is available on the "spine" is almost useless, I find and on mobile shifts there is no smart card reader provided anyway. In hours, the communication with secondary care is almost nil (consultant answerphones permanently switched on , and never after 5pm = GP evening surgery time).
    Yes the new Minister will not solve everything with just an IT revolution but in the real world we are not going to see any extra GPs for at least a decade.. It feels like we have a moral obligation to help stop wasting GP appointments with things like " I had my scan 2w ago (and although the consultant booked it anyway.....let's not bother with that line again today) and I have come to discuss the results with you" .....pause, patient looks crestfallen and then "as I'm here we could talk about that crinkly bit on my little toenail that is going to engulf my family" ( according to the TV advert...) And then mission creep rolls on to another avoidable sequence of poorly used GP appointments.
    When GP IT systems started in the 90s, we went through a serious "interoperability" process to make sure we could do stuff like QOF in 2004. Please Mr Minister don't wreck the worlds biggest consistent and validated healthcare database and don't alienate those of us who gave our spare time to support things like primis.
    I have tried to send this to the doh but I could not find a way to contribute yet via their website. Hmmm!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • ...just to add, I'm not a nerdy locum. I picked up a few scars dragging my partners huffily from Lloyd George to paper light about 20y ago. We were all surprised by the gain in productivity (yes more income from dispensing and claims and then QOF 5y later). But yes, I also wasted evenings and days off sitting through some utterly stupid local NHS IT initiatives so there is no blind evangelism here either..

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Bob Hodges

    This existing laws around data control and information governance were written in crayon.

    Matt's got felt tips.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • At least the Hospital staff have a GP referral letter to read : GPs often don't get any form of useful handover correspondence from Hospital staff to read when seeing patients after a stay in hospital!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say