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Coalition Government to retain Summary Care Record

By Ian Quinn

The coalition Government has revealed it plans to keep the Summary Care Record, despite a massive boycott by GPs and pre-election pledges by both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats to rip up the system.

Conservative health minister Simon Burns revealed the Government is to stick with the most recent policy introduced under Labour, which will allow records to be uploaded in a patchwork system across the country, depending on whether individual GP practices and PCTs back the idea.

Uploading of records, he said, would continue in all PCTs where GPs and trusts agreed there has been adequate consultation and opportunity for patients to opt out.

The Conservatives had previously planned to scrap a national system in favour of a more localised system of records, while the Liberal Democrats had called for the rollout to abandoned altogether, with then health spokeperson Norman Lamb branding it as ‘a disastrous waste of money'.

But in response to calls from fellow Conservative MPs for the Government to confirm it would ditch the rollout, Mr Burns said: ‘Uploading of information to the Summary Care Record will continue to take place, where the relevant GP practices and primary care trusts agree that patients have been adequately informed about the process, and properly enabled to opt out should they wish, and where GP practices and PCTs are satisfied that data are of an appropriate quality for sharing.'

The U-turn poses huge question marks over how the care record, intended to provide seamless communication between GP practices, hospitals and out–of-hours providers, will operate. Last week Pulse revealed GPs up and down the country are boycotting the rollout with an investigation showing that in 36 areas that have begun the rollout and were able to provide figures, 286 practices out of 1,732 invited to take part had refused.

Our investigation also revealed that some trusts were boycotting the scheme altogether, and others are completely flouting the DH ruling and bypassing GP consent altogether.

Government to retain Summary Care Record scheme