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Constant requests for information ‘endanger GP role’

By Gareth Iacobucci

Exclusive: GPs are being bombarded on average once a day with requests for information from other care settings, in findings IT enthusiasts say build evidence for allowing remote access to records.

The results from an exclusive IT survey carried out by Pulse magazine show the extent of GPs workload caused by persistent requests for clinical information.

In a survey of 408 GPs, almost two-thirds (63%) said they were contacted between 1-6 times a week by other care settings requesting clinical information, with almost one GP in five (17%) being contacted between 1-6 times per working day, and 4% even more often than that. On average practices had 6.6 requests for information every week.

Just 16% of GPs said they were never contacted for information, laying bare the scale of the workload facing most practices.

The Summary Care Record rollout aims to reduce the number of requests to GPs for information by allowing remote access to records in some other care settings.

But Dr Richard Van Mellaerts, a GP in Kingston-upon-Thames, said allowing remote access to records would ‘endanger the GPs role' as patients' first point of access, and instead called for PCTs to have ‘a more systematic approach' to requesting information.

‘PCTs need to co-ordinate their requests for information to reduce GPs' workload,' he said.

Dr Richard Van Mellaerts Click here to read the rest of our special issue on IT and information governance. Guest editor