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Concern over ‘mission creep’ for summary care record



GPs have been asked to add ‘do not resuscitate’ notices and other clinical information to Summary Care Records in a move which critics warn is ‘mission creep’ for the controversial project.

The Summary Care Record is currently used to record basic demographic information alongside medications and allergies for 8.8 million patients, with additional information due to be recorded as part of the separate detailed care record.

But the Department of Health said this week that patients should be able to choose to log additional information in their existing Summary Care Record if they wished.

Writing in the Telegraph, health minister Simon Burns said: ‘With the Summary Care Record, patients are very much in the driving seat.’

‘They can decide, in discussion with their clinicians, what extra information, over and above core data about medications and allergies, they may want the NHS to know about them in an emergency. This has the potential to transform the experience of healthcare for millions of patients with long-term conditions and for their families and carers.’

A Department of Health spokesperson said the move, which came a year after a ministerial review of the project, followed calls from patient groups. The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign recently recommended patients add information about their condition to the Summary Care Record to improve their care in hospital.

But Dr Neil Bhatia, a GP in Yateley, Hampshire, said he feared the move represented ‘mission creep’ in the project in order to justify its expense.

‘I would have great concern about a ‘do not resuscitate’ notice being added to these records because it would be open to abuse,’ he said.

‘There will be very little demand for this and it is much more important that the patient themselves and their family is consulted properly about their condition and their wishes.’