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Defence body warning over shared locum logins

By Gareth Iacobucci

All GP practices should provide unique and confidential computer logins for locums so that they can be identified when adverse events occur, medical defence experts have warned.

The Medical Protection Society (MPS) said it had dealt with cases where practices could not identify who was involved in incidents because different locums were sharing the same login.

GMC guidance states that doctors must keep clear, accurate, legible and contemporaneous patient records, and part of this includes attributing entries to an author.

Dr Stephanie Bown, MPS director of policy and communications, said: ‘Medical records should be attributable, the author of any entry should be clear. When making electronic records locums should not share usernames and passwords as it is important for practices to be able to identify the author of an entry and who saw the patient.'

‘When several different doctors and nurses are involved in a patient's care, it's important for any one of them to know who the patient has seen previously. By knowing who saw a patient, it is possible to share feedback on their performance, which leads to better care and less complaints.'

‘Whilst all practising doctors should have their own professional indemnity in place, practices could be held liable for the errors of a locum if that individual cannot be identified or traced when a claim is subsequently brought. If different people are sharing the same login, it can be impossible to trace the individual responsible.'

Dr Stephanie Bown