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Summary Care Records: ssshhhhhh, don't tell anyone

Ever since the Summary Care Record early adopter programme was launched some 14 months ago, news of exactly how the project was progressing has been hard to come by.

Ever since the Summary Care Record early adopter programme was launched some 14 months ago, news of exactly how the project was progressing has been hard to come by.



True, the occasional announcement would emerge announcing that Summary Care Record production was up, and all was proceeding to plan. But for the most part, the project has been shrouded in secrecy – to the extent that the sixth early adopter area, revealed by Pulse in February to be South West Essex PCT, has never been officially announced.

The independent evaluation of the early adopter project, published last month, blew open the programme once and for all. A fair-minded but tough analysis called, among other things, for the implied consent model to be scrapped in favour of a consent-to-view model, whereby patients give their explicit consent every time their Summary Care Record is viewed.

But both prior to that report, and since, a steady flow of information has emerged from another source – the Freedom of Information Act. A series of requests made under the act, notably by IT campaigner and Hampshire GP Dr Neil Bhatia, led to a series of revelations about the project, including the scale of the delays in Bolton and that fact that Bury PCT was forced to beg its own staff to take part in the project. (Many of the FOI documents can be viewed in full on Dr Bhatia's website here.)

Given that this information has emerged anyway, one wonders if Connecting for Heath now regret their policy of keeping schtum. But judging by the latest nugget to emerge from the FOI documents, I suspect not. Dorset PCT, analysing the impact that the project could have on the country's large number of tourist visitors, made this statement:

"The Board agreed that roadshows were not desirable for Dorset, given the likelihood that tourists might want to make use of them, and this would provide some unwelcome nationwide publicity for the SCR."

Too late, perhaps. The horse has well and truly bolted.

Pulse team blog

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