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Official figures suggest Summary Care Records are consulted for less than 1% of calls in out-of-hours

Exclusive: The Summary Care Record is barely being used in out-of-hours care, with official figures showing that in areas where records have been uploaded, they are accessed for less than 1% of calls.

The latest set of Department of Health statistics show there are just 1,800 views of care records each week, even though the number of records being uploaded has now risen to almost exactly 13.5 million.

Pulse reported earlier this year that once care records are accessed, around a third of GPs in out-of-hours are changing their prescribing behaviour. 

But the latest figures indicate that it is very rare for records to be viewed in the first place.

The proportion of the population covered currently with Summary Care Records would be expected to make 337,000 out-of-hours calls in the average week. Even if all 1,800 care record accesses were in out-of-hours environments, this would suggest care records are accessed for only 0.5% of calls.

The figures are being used by GP critics of the scheme as evidence that the whole programme has yet to show any tangible benefits, despite at least £100m being spent on the project. The latest DH figures show around 30 sites in England are now using the Summary Care Record, but just 20 PCTs have reached the ‘critical mass' of 60% or more of patients having care records created. 

Earlier this month David Flory, deputy chief executive of the NHS, called for ‘rapid further progress' on the rollout as the DH was a year behind schedule.

Dr Neil Bhatia, a GP in Yateley, Hampshire, and a long-term critic of the scheme, said the new figures showed many out-of-hours GPs had yet to be convinced of the benefits of accessing care records.: ‘GPs working out of hours are under an enormous amount of time pressure as it is. They are not going to log on to check each patient's Summary Care Record because they won't have time.'

A DH spokesperson said: ‘Summary Care Record viewing is currently taking place in those areas where a significant number of records have been created. As the numbers of records created grow, the number of sites viewing the record will increase'.


Summary Care Record rollout

13,499,272 Care records that have been created

337,500 Projected number of out-of-hours calls per week for this number of people

1,800 Actual number of care record views per week

0.53% Estimated proportion of calls to out-of-hours providers where care record is viewed