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GPs receive apology after password blunder locks practices out of CQRS

Exclusive Hundreds of practices face frustration when they try to manually enter information for immunisation and enhanced service payments as they have not been informed their passwords to the CQRS reporting system have expired.

Pulse has learnt that practices across England have been unable to key in their achievement into the Calculating Quality Reporting Service (CQRS) as their passwords had automatically expired after 180 days of use.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) has apologised for the ongoing problems, and admitted it has neglected to tell practices about the issue.

A spokesperson said they were looking at changing the service to issue users with a reminder prompting them to change their passwords, but that they did not know how many practices were affected. The HSCIC said that there were currently ‘no known issues’ with payments using the service.

The HSCIC had initially promised that the CQRS would save practices time ‘through the automation of recording, checking and submitting’ performance data, but practices have had to manually plug in their data since the new system was launched in April.

The HSCIC emailed practices in October apologising that manual uploading would continue until April as CQRS needed more time to ‘successfully deliver the QOF 2013/14 extractions’, but GP leaders have said they are really concerned that the automated system will not be working properly by April when QOF data has to be submitted.

An HSCIC spokesperson said: ‘It is standard for passwords for services that contain sensitive information to expire after a certain period as a security measure. In this case it is 180 days. We are aware of this issue and are looking into changing the service to issue users with a reminder prompting them to change their passwords.

‘We apologise to users that have been locked out of the CQRS as a result of this. In the meantime we will be contacting GPs practices throughout our communication channels to prompt them. If GP practices are having any other password-related issues it is recommended that they contact the CQRS helpdesk.’

Asked if HSCIC could guarantee that the automated extractions of data will be fixed by April she said: ‘We are looking at the transition from manual to automated data entry for enhanced services for the next financial year from after April. This work is ongoing.’

Gill Hands, a practice manager at Chester Road Surgery in Birmingham told Pulse: ‘I called the CQRS help desk and they said lots of practices had called them about passwords to get help.

‘On 1 January all the passwords were out of date, but they didn’t tell anyone. They said that in six months’ time when these new passwords expire they would send an email to tell practices in advance.’

Dr Peter Scott, chair of Solihull LMC in the West Midlands, also said practices in his region have been experiencing problems with passwords not working.

Dr Tony Grewal, a medical director at Londonwide LMCs, said ‘large numbers of practice managers’ remained concerned about the CQRS system. ‘Sometimes the data is being put in, but it’s not clear whether it’s actually gone through the system.’

Dr Prakash Chandra, a GP in Newham, London, said the latest glitches are bringing frustration for practices and wasting their time.

He said: ‘It can take quite a long time to get onto the CQRS system. I don’t trust HSCIC to have it all working by April.’