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As further evidence emerges that Choose and Book and other IT reforms will add hours to GP workload, the Government acts on Care Record confidentiality fears ­ Ian Cameron reports

Further evidence has emerged that the Government's NHS IT reforms will add hours to GPs' workload every week.

Dr Gillian Braunold, GP clinical lead for Connecting for Health, said this week the NHS Care Record would add an 'extra step' to GP consultations.

GPs would have to reassure patients frequently about the record and repeatedly get their consent for their information to go on it, she said.

Meanwhile, a working group of doctors and NHS managers in south-west England agreed that Choose and Book would add at least an hour's work to every GP's week ­ far longer than Connecting for Health has claimed.

The disclosures are a blow to Connecting for Health, which was showing signs of winning over GPs after making a concerted effort to increase engagement with doctors.

Dr Braunold said in order for GPs to give a 'quality' consultation, they would have to ask patients every time whether they wanted have their information shared via the record.

She said: 'We need to visit these issues frequently with patients at the beginning. This is not a single one-off where GPs can assume ''You decided this so I didn't bother asking again''.

'There's no question that quality consultations take time. You need to make sure people understand what they are consenting to.'

On Choose and Book, Steve Mercer, lay secretary of Avon LMC, said a local working group on implementing the electronic booking system had concluded it would add at least an hour a week to GPs' work.

He said this was based on Connecting for Health's claim that Choose and Book would add only a minute to each consultation involving a referral and that 85 per cent of bookings would be done outside of the consulting room.

'One hour is the rock bottom minimum,' he said.

Unless GPs were paid for Choose and Book, he added, the Government would be getting £2 million of GP work free every week.

Dr Paul Cundy, chair of the GPC IT sub-committee, said Connecting for Health's 85 per cent claim was 'naive' and GPs would spend longer if they had to use Choose and Book.

He said: 'It assumes you can hand the person a piece of paper and not have to explain anything.'

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