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NHS launches scanning service for old GP records amid 'paperless' strategy

The NHS Business Services Authority is launching a scanning service for GP practices to digitise old patient records.

The service, which comes at a cost to practices which NHSBSA would not disclose, uploads patients' Lloyd George envelopes to the practice's IT system.

According to NHSBSA, over a third (35%) of practices making use of the service in a pilot scheme expect to open a new consultation room with the space that has been freed up.

NHSBSA said it has capacity to scan over 20,000 prescriptions in an hour and can scan one practices’ entire archive of Lloyd George envelopes in a week.

GP practices will be expected to digitise patient records as part of a Government strategy for the NHS to go 'paperless' by 2020.

GP leaders questioned whether NHSBSA, which is fully-owned by the Government, should be charging practices for a service that enables practices to adhere to its strategy.

BMA GP committee contract and regulation lead Dr Robert Morley said: 'On the face of it there does appear to be an element of conflict of interest.'

But NHSBSA director of primary care services Martin Kelsall told Pulse that the service was not for profit.

He said: 'This is about an archive paper storage that’s infrequently used. It’s an estates issue.

‘We’re making access simpler but the benefits for the practice is freeing up the space and reducing the administrative burden of accessing and moving paper records around.’

The scanning service was piloted over the last year in NHS Newcastle and Gateshead CCG, with 34 practices participating.

Readers' comments (9)

  • Dear All,
    I'd steer clear of this. The concept is very much needed, we need to move our historic records from paper to digital but as always simple ideas are complex problems, what if the patient's next practice does not use GP2GP?
    We have been discussing the complexities of national solutions for this problem for 2 years or more. What NHSBA offer is not a solution and has not been endorsed by anyone. My advice is to be patient and await a more strategic solution that deals with all the issues. Do not purchase this product.
    Dr Paul Cundy
    GPC Policy Lead for IT
    GMC 2582641

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  • Did i read this correctly? They want us to pay for a service that they should have implemented years ago? and the only benefit they can see for us is that we can free up a room that we get paid for anyway??

    Blue skies thinking from NHSBA.....

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  • A small cupboard here...

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  • Dr Cundy

    thank you as always! amazing reply. will be holding off. Please pulse when an agreed service does come online then please let us know. it is much needed.

    thank you

    -anonymous salaried!

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  • Thanks Dr Cundy - Pulse can you please upload his comments on to your front page? Thanks

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  • A very flawed scheme.
    What we need is NOT to scan whole packets of notes onto pages of online documents that have to be trawled through to find anything, but an ability for what we have on-line in our clinical software systems, to be saved permanently and transferred to new GPs when the patient moves, rather than printed off onto paper and then scanned or re-coded!
    obviously NHS digital has failed to get GP2GP to work properly through poor planning and silly contracting, and is trying to deflect blame for their failure onto GPs, AND charge us to 'correct' it, but leaving a stupidly inaccesible document which is a risk to the patient and the GPs.
    Go back to the basics with GP2GP and get it working on all computer systems first - and while you are at it, ditch the failed useless software systems like Vision and stick with tried and tested ones like EMIS.

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  • NHSE wants them digitised, then fine. But they pay for them to be digitised, along with any practice costs and any movement costs etc.

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  • It's a sorry state of affairs but the best and cheapest solution is probably to do nothing. All practices MUST do GP2GP and somewhere along the way notes will be summarised (hopefully) - In time whatever is left in the Lloyd George will become less and less relevant. The alternative IS to scan everything and upload onto clinical system - not ideal but less likely to be lost than LG - The time taken to review notes and clear out 'junk' is too great - if scanned and separate pages created this exercise can again in time be edited and irrelevant guff culled.

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  • Paul Cundy is right. And even if both practice have and use GP2GP, which they should, there can be problems with file size limits.

    Our local hospital 'digitised' many of their (massive) paper records and, as anonymouse3 observes, they are difficult to use because they aren't properly indexed.

    And you are all correct: this shouldn't be paid for by practices!

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