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A faulty production line

Patient record access initiative is yet another part of the DH agenda

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When was the last time you read about a DH initiative/strategy/policy and thought, ‘Oooh, that sounds like a good idea?’

Exactly. Never.

And their latest wheeze, to enable patients to view and comment on their full records by 2018, is not going to change that.

Not only is it full of harebrained cybers**t, it also contains the chilling line, ‘The CQC will regulate provider’s record keeping from April 2016’ – which presumably means I can look forward to having my ears boxed with a clipboard for being too liberal with the phrase, ‘timewasting arseache’.

OK, there might be a teeny minority of patients who’d be attracted to the bright idea of ‘Personalised Health and Care 2020’ though, frankly, most of them already have enough ways to torture their GPs.

The rest – that is the rational majority for whom obsessive health checking/updating isn’t their raison d’etre – are just like us in that they don’t give a flying monkeys. Besides, how much will this cost, and how much will it screw up already overcrowded and distracting records? Answer, to both: a lot.

Interesting, isn’t it, how the politicians have already appropriated the GP consultation via QOF, the public health agenda and so on. So it’s a natural progression to do the same with the GP records. These things used to be sacrosanct. Now they’re a test-bed for political whimsy.

They do it under the banner of developing a health service fit for the 21st century. But given that they’re pursuing no one’s agenda but their own, they’re actually developing a health service that’s fit to drop.

And that’s something I’d like to put on the record.

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can follow him on Twitter @DocCopperfield

Readers' comments (10)

  • Vinci Ho


    This is DoH

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  • It is nice for me, a patient, to know what my record says, because it often shows that the doctor, GP or consultant, has totally misunderstood what I was trying to say to them.

    Suggest, dear Dr Copperfield, how else I can check up on my doctor's ability to listen?

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  • And patients will then be able to comment on mistakes in their medical records. Oh yes, Dr Copperfield, there are mistakes and it was only when I saw my medical records that I discovered two mistakes, one of which could have had a serious negative impact on my care. The mistake was then corrected. Oh yes, it was a true mistake, it wasn't a matter of opinion. Doctors - and computer software - can make mistakes.

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  • Richard Sarson and Anonymous 2pm, you can already see your records, have a copy and get comments put on where you feel there is a mistake - so this initiative is exactly what Dr Copperfield says it is, yet another total waste of time and money.

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  • Anonymous 3.49pm - technically, patients have always been able to request to see their records, but this takes time to organise (and sometimes there's a fee), whereas the new way is such that a patient can log in securely to view their medical records, doctors comments, test results etc any time. There's no need to cause surgery staff work…unless a mistake is spotted and needs rectifying.

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  • There is talk of a recruitment crisis. This pales into insignificance when compared to the retention problems. If I wanted to introduce a scheme to accelerate this stampede for the exits -this would be the scheme I would choose .

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  • In future I will get my patients to sit in my chair and get them to type up their own records . Then there can be no argument .

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  • Medical notes are a tool used by a Dr during the course of their work. Turning them into an access on demand editable commentary will remove a good deal of their value...for the person who actually uses them - the Dr. We are in the middle of an ongoing unstoppable orgy of anyone and everyone telling Drs how to their job. As a Dr I can tell any of you non-health care 'lurkers' out there it is a pain in the butt. I don't presume to tell the guys who bake my bread how to bake it, or the guy who services my car how he should do it either...but Drs? actually GPs specifically ...have come to be regarded as public property, to be told what to do and how to do. That's not an independent. profession with its own opinions ...that's a public slave who does as he/she is told and who's opinion is therefor pretty useless. Well screw you. I'm not interested. I'm sick of this job and I'm off. Good luck finding enough gofers to do your bidding bunch of over indulged consuming clueless fools.

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  • @ 0:56am

    The problem is your assumption that you are the only person who uses the records or needs to use them.

    The fact is many people these days have LTCs and people with LTCs are responsible for managing their own conditions. It's far more helpful to give the patient easy access to their own data and health information so that they can manage their conditions effectively.

    And it may be hard for you to hear but doctors are very fallible and their record keeping can be poor quality and full of mistakes - so why shouldn't patients be able to amend the mistakes? This isn't about people telling you how to do your job - your job already involves working in partnership with patients, right?

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  • wow people in the UK are stupid. I suspect this will further push GP's into retirement.

    The amount of gibberish I hear when I deal with patient groups suggest to me that there will some odd characters who will spend their lives on their notes creating so much work. You'll effectively have a Wikipedia type consultation record with records of edits and this will result in too much info.

    A doctors job is to filter out much of the noise that comes from a consult, it may not be what a patient wants but it is for the doctor to then use to make clinical decisions. this undermines that completely

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From: Copperfield

Dr Tony Copperfield is a jobbing GP in Essex with more than a few chips on his shoulder