By Steve Nowottny
Exclusive: The Summary Care Record roll-out is approaching the 'critical mass' needed to justify the programme with almost 30 million patients in more than 100 PCTs informed they will have an electronic record created unless they opt out, Pulse can reveal.
Information released by Connecting for Health under the Freedom of Information Act shows that more than half of GP practices across England have now seen their patients invited to take part in the controversial scheme, which faces an uncertain future under the new coalition Government.
The rollout has been accelerated in recent months in a bid to achieve critical mass ahead of the general election, with NHS IT chiefs aware that both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats pledged to scrap the project.
Last week the BMA and Department of Health agreed in a joint statement that uploads of records in areas which have already written to patients would only continue once trusts had agreed with practices that patients had been given adequate information about the programme.
By the end of last week, 29,779,000 patient information packs had been sent out as part of the project's public information programme, across 113 PCTs. (Click here to view the full list of areas). So far 1.5 million Summary Care Records have been created.
Connecting for Health has previously refused to provide a list of areas where the Summary Care Record is being rolled out.
The information released by Connecting for Health also reveals that £7.5 million of central funding has been spent on printing, packaging and postal costs associated with the public information programme since last December.
Connecting for Health agreed to pick up the bill for informantion packs sent to patients in a bid to persuade cash-strapped NHS trusts to push ahead with the project.List of PCTs participating in SCR rollout
List of PCTs participating in SCR rollout30 million patients have now been sent letters about the Summary Care Record rollout 30 million patients have now been sent letters about the Summary Care Record rollout Where the rollout has begun
To view the full list of areas where the Summary Care Record public information programme is now underway - a list Connecting for Health have previously refused to make public - please click here.