Pulse campaign gains momentum
Politicians, medical bodies and GPs from across the country have backed Pulse's Common Sense on IT campaign.Launched last week, the campaign calls for a halt to Choose and Book in its current form, explicit consent for the sharing of care records and a watertight system to anonymise records used for research purposes.Norman Lamb MP, Liberal Democrat health spokesman, said he was calling for a full independent review of Connecting for Health.'I strongly agree with Pulse that consent to share patient records should be clear and explicit,' he said. 'The Government has lost the confidence of the medical profession on this project. Choose and Book appears to be mired in problems and this should clearly be part of the review.'Conservative shadow health minister Stephen O'Brien MP also lent his support, although he said the Conservatives did not support explicit consent for sharing patient records.'High quality, well-planned IT would bring countless benefits to frontline patient care,' he said. 'Instead, through the Government's sheer incompetence the programme has been poorly planned and badly delivered.'The BMA has largely backed Pulse's campaign, supporting demands on explicit consent and anonymisation of records.But GPC negotiator Dr Richard Vautrey said Choose and Book was a 'complex' issue.'In some parts of the country it's working well and practices actually find it a useful tool – in other parts of the country it's completely hopeless,' he said. 'It's hard for us to call outright for a boycott or stoppage because it's a very mixed picture.'However, grassroots GPs across the country have joined the campaign and signed a petition which will be presented to policymakers.Dr Aslam Akhtar, a GP in Biggin Hill in Kent, said his practice had held a special meeting to discuss the campaign. All seven partners have signed.