By Nigel Praities
Exclusive: The GPC has said it does not support a move to localised patient electronic record schemes, as proposed by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.
GPC leaders are warning that any move to a local scheme would have ‘limited usefulness’, placing them on a potential collision course with the next Government after the general election in May.
The move comes as the Government signaled a further delay in the publication of a controversial independent academic review of the Summary Care Record, at least until after the election.
The report – which has already been leaked to Computer Weekly magazine – is expected to say some Summary Care Records omit crucial information or contain inaccuracies that could be life-threatening.
Although the report was expected to be published this month, health minister Mike O’Brien told MPs this week: ‘The outcome of this work is currently undergoing quality assurance and peer review and is due for publication later this year.’
Dr Grant Ingrams, a GP in Coventry and co-chair of the GPC’s IT subcommittee, told Pulse publication of the report was crucial before Connecting for Health rolled the programme out further.
‘It is inappropriate to be rolling the SCR out widely until the report has been received and any recommendations considered and implemented,’ he said.
But he added that the plans of the other major parties to replace the Summary Care Record with a local detailed GP care record open to local services would be of ‘limited usefulness’.
‘Local solutions will not produce the same benefits, and are likely to prove to be at least as expensive, controversial and difficult to implement,’ he said.
‘Patients do not only fall ill in their local area, and are more likely to access unscheduled care when staying elsewhere.’
‘In addition a significant portion of patients live on boundaries between areas, with their closest or more convenient hospital not being in their “registered” area.’
Other GPs agree. Dr Mary Hawking, a GP in Dunstable, Kent, said: ‘I’m not sure whether any of the parties have thought the situation – and business requirements – for making medical information available in OOH and emergency care through.’
‘A national electronic care record containing just medication and adverse reactions/allergies would be brilliant. Enrichment is the cause of the SCR getting out of control and losing focus,’ she added.
The GPC has rejected a local model for electronic records as unworkable Your questions on electronic patient records
Dr Grant Ingrams will be answering GPs’ questions on electronic patient records in Pulse’s In Practice section later this monthFollow the latest with Pulse’s election tracker Pulse election coverage