Summary Care Records may be rebranded due to the ‘toxicity’ around the future of the programme, said NHS England’s director of technology yesterday.
The records are to be renamed the ‘partial GP record’ as the NHS moves towards becoming paperless by 2015.
The rollout of the SCR programme has been plagued with problems, and the GPC IT lead called for the whole thing to be scrapped earlier this year because only a small proportion of records are being accessed and the current utilisation rate means each viewing to date has effectively cost an estimated £1,200.
But speaking at the E-Health Insider conference in Birmingham yesterday, NHS England’s director of strategic systems and technology, Beverley Bryant, said that in the ‘fullness of time’ SCRs may become redundant, but in the meantime they would be rebranded.
She said: ‘There has been a lot of toxicity and noise around the future of the SCR. It probably over promised in terms of what it was about. But the reality is that we have seen a better uptake of summary care records by secondary care clinicians, than in any of the five years prior to that.
‘And we’re potentially going to rename it our partial GP record. We think having access for our A&E, 111 and out-of-hours clinicians to that partial GP record, is a really important step to achieving integration.”
‘In the fullness of time, we may not need it, because we’ll already be able to, at a detailed level, transfer information across care systems. But until that time I would really encourage people to consider taking up the SCR, as a safe access to patient information.’
She said this was one of a number of objectives – new, or continued from the National IT Plan - which NHS England is working towards with the ultimate goal of ‘putting technology and information into the hands of patients’.
She added: ‘We do it with banking, but we’re not there with the NHS and we need to make it easier. We will not be dictating to our patients and carers, the way in which we correspond with them. If they want and email, they want a text, we need to offer that. But if they want paper, want a letter, we need to offer that equally.’
Other major objectives include updating Choose and Book, re-evaluating the IT operating model for GPs and doing more to develop e-prescribing.