This site is intended for health professionals only

Highs and lows: Computerised patient records

Dr Mary Hawking, a GP in Dunstable, Kent, remembers how her practice was forced to introduce IT

Ken Clarke's 1990 ccontract meant practices that had been getting along without computer records had to get a computer system just to meet targets, to earn practice income that had previously been paid for by item-of-service claims.

At the time we had a senior partner who had qualified in 1948 and ran a caricature of an old-fashioned practice. We had nine months to work out who was registered and who was not, as he hadn't kept a list. I remember the big fight at over it at the time, but the killer application for swaying my opinion was the ability do repeat prescriptions.

As a result when we came to the 2004 contract, the QOF was actually feasible. Without the medical informatics changes of 1990, we couldn't have had the QOF.

Dr Mary Hawking