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GPs set to see the end of paper transfers of patient records

GPs could see the end of practices sending reams of paper notes between practices when patients move, as the latest version of the ’GP2GP’ system will finally allow large electronic records to be transferred.

The 2014/15 GMS contract made it mandatory for GPs to use GP2GP for transferring patient records by April 2014, but so far the file size restrictions have rendered it unhelpful for all but the most simple of patient records.

GP2GP Version 2.2a will launch to practices using EMIS systems from the end of September, and includes the capability to transfer large records of more than 5MB and will also increase the number of attachments that can be shared.

Currently v1.1 can’t handle large records or those with more than 99 attachments, but the new version will also remove the restrictions on what type of files can be sent.

Being able to transfer records electronically is central to health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s vision for a ‘paperless NHS’ by 2018, and the update will help cut down printing and staff time by improving notifications for practices of what still needs to be printed and sent.

The GPC welcomed the news, but IT subcommittee deputy chair Dr Grant Ingrams explained practices shouldn’t drop paper just yet, he said: ‘It is a great start. [But] we will need to get the regulations changed to enable this.’

‘Practices should not stop sending complete paper records to the next practice until they have written confirmation from the local area teams that they can do so.’

Readers' comments (5)

  • More than 5MB - that is amazing!

    Of course one can get free email accounts with 5GB yet the NHS is presumably paying loads for this 5MB ability!

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  • 3:08 I believe this is a programme that has been brought in house using open source software on the database side of things, with outside IT companies stopped from riding the gravy train. I've been a strong critic, but on the whole these developers have actually been hitting their deadlines. (A miracle in itself). They have also listened when I have raised clinical safety issues on the Summary Care Record side of things, which are now almost negated with this update.

    Fingers crossed everything goes as planned and role on version 2.2 when returning patients will get integrated too.

    If this goes well I'll be doing a hell of a lot more scanning of clinical notes to finally free up some space in my practice, not just create more and more paper notes.

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  • Version 2.2 should read 2.2b

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  • I'm a clinician that has been involved in some of the GP2GP testing and work and it's fair to say that most clinicians have NO idea of the complexity involved.

    All of the systems have different ways of recording information - even something simple like a BP is recorded differently in Vision compared to Emis. Allergies are a nightmare (it's easy for a human but how does a computer record an allergy - hint: it's not just a simple read code) and even the read code systems differ between manufacturers. These raise a HUGE number of potential safety issues.

    GP2GP is an immensely complex piece of work. Yes, the 5MB / 99 attachments is crazy but actually this was due to limitations of the N3 network rather than the GP2GP project per se.

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  • So the System provider is responsible for ensuring that data extraction and transfer is ina specified format which is just retranslated the other end.
    End of paper records? How? Until anybody born beofre 2014 dies they'lll still be needed...how can we supply all recoreds under DPA? - unless NHSE stores and extracts!

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