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GPC calls for ‘immediate suspension’ of Summary Care Record after errors put patient safety at risk

By Gareth Iacobucci

GP leaders have called for all existing Summary Care Records to be ‘immediately suspended' by the Government, as they are posing a ‘significant danger' to patients.

A motion passed at yesterday's GPC meeting said patient safety was being compromised by ‘the failures of SCRs to be reliably and consistently updated'.

It says access to all records should be halted until all issues have been ‘fully investigated and satisfactorily resolved'.

The move comes after Pulse exclusively revealed last month that the Government is set to massively scale back the Summary Care Record following its 'profound' misgivings about the way the rollout has been handled.

This week the health White Paper confirmed the Government planned to switch to a local model in which patients have far more control over who has access to their data, with NHS chief executive, Sir David Nicholson, announcing there was to be a wide-raging review of the entire NHS IT programme, which is expected to result in huge cutbacks, including the possible scrapping of Connecting for Health altogether.

The BMA's intervention also comes after a University College London report, led by Professor Trisha Greenhalgh, warned patient records contained 'incomplete or innacurate data' .

GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman said: ‘We are talking about SCRs that already exist, particularly in the pilot sites, not new ones.

‘If you have an SCR you can't rely on, and you don't know how up-to-date it is, that is very concerning.'

Dr Buckman added: 'This is nothing to do with politics or consent, this is about safety. We are concerned that SCRs in the pilots sites do not update in a way we might expect. That means what is in them is not accurate and could result in significant danger.'

The GPC also passed a separate motion outlining its position on the SCR in light of the recent UCL report, which concluded that there were 'insoluble' flaws in the Summary Care Record rollout.

The motion reads:

- the clinical benefits are insufficient to justify continuation at present, particularly at a time when patients are being denied proven clinical services on the grounds of expense

- the clinical benefits are insufficient to justify the creation without fully informed explicit consent

- the clinical benefits are insufficient to justify GPs consenting to the upload of data on behalf of patients who have not expressed consent;

- the creation of SCRs in England should be halted until the full review of the model, and other models, has taken place to address the cost effectiveness and the need for informed and explicit consent of patients.

The GPC said this motion did not represent advice or instruction to LMCs or GPs and said it was up to individual practices to decide whether to upload records.

The BMA has demanded that the use of Summary Care Records is suspended The BMA has demanded that the use of Summary Care Records is suspended