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NHS managers 'expect' GPs to go beyond contractual requirements on IT drive

Exclusive NHS England has said it expects GPs to go beyond the minimum requirements set out in the contract for patient online access, after admitting that the minimum requirements will lead to ‘no meaningful improvement’ for patients.

An NHS England board paper on risk assurance has said that unless GPs go beyond the requirements of their contract then the benefit for patients will be limited.

A spokesperson subsequently told Pulse that they ‘expect practices to implement access to records in the most beneficial way for their patients’ which, they add, ‘may mean going beyond the minimum’.

But GP leaders have said that practices could only go beyond the ‘minimum requirements’ if they were willing to ‘shut up shop’ for six months in order to check the accuracy of existing records.

The NHS England risk update states that the ‘technical solutions to support GPs are on track’ to implement the changes in the 2014/15 GMS contract, which brought in a requirement that patients should be able to access their records online by April 2015, and that practices should be able to offer appointments and order repeat prescriptions online by April 2014.

However, it added: ‘The concern is that practices may only implement the minimum requirement, thus there would not be meaningful quality improvement for patients.’

Beverley Bryant, director of strategic systems and technology, NHS England, told Pulse: ‘The evidence shows that patients that benefit most from access to records are those with long term conditions. Those practices that currently offer the service, give access to much more information than the contractual minimum.’

‘A minimum requirement has been set to enable practices to turn the service on without the fear of being overwhelmed. We expect practices to implement access to records in the most beneficial way for their patients. This may mean going beyond the minimum.’

Dr Grant Ingrams, a GP in Coventry, vice-chair of Coventry LMC and a former chair of the GPCs IT subcommittee told Pulse that practices who wanted to go beyond the contract minimums would have to invest months to provide retrospective access to records .

Dr Ingrams said: ‘The biggest problem is checking retrospective records because we have a legal requirement to ensure there’s nothing in that records which will cause the patient significant harm.’

‘Because of that… I’d have to personally look through 1600 to 1800 records. I can’t do that, well we could do that but we’d have to shut up shop and stop being GPs. Say “let’s not have general practice for six months while we sort out what NHS England wants”.’

NHS England stated in December last year that access to the summary care record was the minimum that practices were required to provide but that they anticipated ‘many will want to offer further information’.

And Health Minister, Dr Dan Poulter said in January that GPs would also not be obliged to provide access to the ‘retrospective’ record and would only need to show information added after they signed up.

NHS England has also said patients will be able to update and enhance their own records, but some GPs have voiced concern that even the limited information contained in summary care record could put vulnerable patients at risk.

Readers' comments (9)

  • Like the unplanned admissions DES, another plan that has no basis behind it apart from more bureaucracy, vote gaining and taking clinicians further away from using their skills.

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  • Why waste time doing stuff that is put out there in a desperate attempt to win votes, but in fact wastes precious GP time.

    I do not have enough hours in the day to look after the 2500+ patients on my list, let alone go and fill out daft paperwork on admission avoidance.

    When I could actually do win some one scrapping all the bureaucratic time wasting parts of my job so I can actually spend more time looking after the elderly and the ones who need it.

    Just like the article that says - 'Say No', please stop sending me Cr@p as I am now saying NO.

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  • John Glasspool

    "Pope defaecates in woods"

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  • Kadiyali Srivatsa

    Its sad to see how people in power working in the NHS are simply wasting time, money and killing one of the best healthcare system in the world. I do not undersand why these people are not using their common sense but wasting £billions hiring soft are companies. I hope they will listen to what doctors say and not what software companies offer and help save the NHS.

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  • Go beyond a minimal requirement, when the funding is inadequate across all of primary care.
    Are they having a laugh?!

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  • We will see a lot more of this as we progress through the year towards the election. Policy pronouncements made on the hoof - pandering to what sounds good but has little or no evidence base or at worst risks long term damage. The profession should rise above all this short term quick win easy fix rhetoric and know that all that can be measured is not necessarily meaningful and that knowing the actual cost of everything but the true value of nothing is the proud domain of the bobble headed giggle twits.

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  • Yes, let's do this because NHS England always goes out if its way to help us.

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  • GP's expect NHS managers to pay us on time

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  • MY GP has been doing that for years, he is at the practice before it opens to patients and there long after it closes ... probably ticking boxes for the idiots in Westminster ... please roll on the next election!!

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