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GP2GP transfers erratic

By Lilian Anekwe

Exclusive: Almost half of GPs who have received medical records transferred under the GP2GP IT system have found them not good enough to rely on in delivering patient care, a Pulse survey finds.

The survey of over 540 GPs suggests more needs to be done to implement the system effectively, with many respondents expressing concerns over the compatibility of GP records.

GP2GP is generally assumed to be popular and effective, but the findings also suggest it may not be sufficient to allow seamless transfer of medical records through the NHS.

As many as 57% of GPs said they had now received records transferred through the system. But among those, 44% said the quality of records sent through GP2GP was not good enough to 'to ensure seamless delivery of high-quality care'.

GPs responding to the survey complained it was often difficult to extract information from transferred records.

Dr Kanagalingam Sugumar, a GP in Sutton, Surrey said: ‘Lack of progress on full integration of GP2GP is frustrating and creates waste and duplication. Printouts from most clinical systems are bloated and it's difficult to extract meaningful information. Scanning hospital records into our IT system takes 20 admin hours a week for a practice of 10,000.'

Dr Fiona Underhill, a GP in South Woodford, Essex, said: ‘GP2GP is useful but until it is 100% working any effort to roll out a national database is premature.'

Dr Alan Hassey, joint GP IT Committee representative on the Connecting for Health GP2GP project board, and a GP in Skipton, Yorkshire, said the survey findings would feed into future policy.

‘The board will study the Pulse findings and review them in light of other feedback to consider what lessons might be learned.'

Dr Hassey added GPs would be issued new guidance later this year, in an updated version of the Good Practice Guidelines for electronic records.

Dr Manpreet Pujara, a GP in Rochester and clinical director for the electronic prescription service, said the survey findings tallied with Connecting for Health's own research, showing 59% of practices were currently using GP2GP.

Dr Pujara said GP2GP would continue to be of value whether or not the care record was rolled out: 'It's like comparing apples and pears. The care record on the whole is not going to be used by GPs where a patient is registered, but by out-of-hours and A&E, or by pharmacists.'

Dr Manpreet Pujara Click here to read the rest of our special issue on IT and information governance. Guest Editor