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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.’