An LMC has called for NHS England to permit GP practices to burn their paper patient records, or store them in an underground bunker, to create more room in practices for consultations.
Devon LMC’s newsletter to local colleagues suggested it would be ‘bizarre’ for NHS funds to be spent on building additional space in practices ‘when practical space already exists in most practices but is simply filled with paper’.
LMC vice chair Dr Anthony O’Brien argued there were companies ’queuing up to do the scanning required’ to get all of the records onto just ‘one disc’.
He said: ’Space would be created quicker and at a fraction of the cost of paying builders to lay bricks. All that paper [could be put] onto one disc [for] easy download of individual notes into the practice system when required.
’However a decision at a high level within the NHS would have to be made about whether the current paper record can be burnt or perhaps stored in an enormous medico-legal underground bunker.’
The newsletter said the LMC has already applied for money from the ’General Practice Transformation Fund for IT’ improvements, ’putting forward a proposal to use this money to get rid of all paper records we currently store in our practices’.
It said its ‘innovative solution’ should ‘tick all the required boxes’ to receive the funding and ’significantly progress the Government target of producing a paperless NHS by 2020’.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said creating a ‘paperless NHS’ would save £4.4bn when implemented by an initial target of 2018. This target has since been pushed forward by two years.