The Department of Health has enlisted the RCGP to help implement its ambitious plans for patients to have electronic access to GP services and their GP record by 2015.
As part of the Government’s 10-year Information Strategy, launched in May, the DH announced that practices will have to appoint a lead GP to co-ordinate better electronic access, secure lines of communication for patients and direct access to GP records within the next three years.
The DH has now asked the college to lead a partnership of professional and patient groups to produce achievable plans by the end of 2012, setting out how this goal can be achieved.
The move comes despite the RCGP voicing concerns about the plans in its response to the DH’s strategy, raising questions over confidentiality, security, the erosion of professional boundaries, potential cost and workload, and the loss of the holistic benefits of face-to-face consultations.
The programme is being led by Dr Imran Rafi, medical director of the RCGP’s Clinical Innovation and Research Centre (CIRC).
The group will also contain representation from the GPC, and will oversee seven smaller working groups with specific remits.
A DH spokesperson said: ‘Implementing this successfully requires the active involvement of professionals as well as the public.’
RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada said: ‘Critical issues such as information governance and safeguarding will be carefully considered, as will the implications for health inequalities and the protection of vulnerable individuals and groups.’