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I’m A GP… Get Me Out Of Here!

I’m A GP… Get Me Out Of Here!

The patient access to records plan is upsetting practices – and it’s all for nothing, says Dr Tony Copperfield

I do love a coincidence. And it’s impossible to ignore the fact that practices up and down the land are facing the biggest logistical nightmare in living memory at precisely the same moment that Matt Hancock is announced as a contestant on I’m A Celebrity… (aka I’m No Longer A Credible Politician… Get Me Out Of The House Of Commons).

We’ve all known about the impending ‘accelerated access to GP-held patient records’ plan for ages, and the reasons we haven’t anticipated/planned for/embraced it are pretty much the same reasons we don’t normally anticipate/plan for/embrace the fact that we’re all going to die some time. I won’t trot out the horrors this initiative holds in store, because they’ve been well aired already.

But there is a very basic question worth posing: why is open access needed at all? The usual spin-bollocks is that it’s about transparency and empowerment. This might make sense if patient records were for patients, but, bluntly, they’re not, in the same way that it might be transparent and empowering for passengers to have access to the pilot’s levers and controls mid-flight, but that doesn’t make it a great idea.

And this isn’t professional paternalism/maternalism, it’s just an acknowledgement that patient records aren’t designed to be a tool for communicating with patients – they’re the way we keep records, hypothesise, deal with uncertainty, flag, share technical data with colleagues and so on. The communication bit we do elsewhere in something called a ‘consultation’. So maybe we can stop doing those now and solve the appointment crisis overnight.

Whatever. The ‘why’ question takes us neatly back to Mr Hancock. I have no idea if accelerated access to GP-held patient records was specifically his idea, but it certainly sits comfortably with the whole thrust of his digital, technologically enhanced vision for the future of primary care. Now this bombshell has GPs paralysed with anxiety, practice managers in meltdown and admin staff at the sharp end of patient dysfunction and dissatisfaction. All for nothing.

No wonder he’s buggering off to Australia. I’m not a regular viewer, but I believe he might have to eat a kangaroo’s penis. If those roles were reversed, I’d watch.

Dr Copperfield is a GP in Essex. Read more of his blogs here



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Darren Tymens 4 November, 2022 11:18 am

Yep. We almost need two records – one to communicate with patients and one to communicate with doctors and other healthcare professionals. The two concepts require entirely different approaches, but NHSE has never understood how ‘medicine’ works, only politics. If they want both, that’s fine, but I will need an extra 5 minutes per consultation to record something that patients can understand and usefully use. That time needs funding and additional capacity. Otherwise we are just playing Buckaroo with general practice, yet again.

john mccormack 5 November, 2022 12:53 am

And government files remain under lock and key for 30 years. Their hippocracy is beyond belief. Politicians (and particularly the Tories) have always been jealous, distrusting and fearful of people who actually contribute positively to society especially Doctors

Mudasar Khan 5 November, 2022 11:20 am

Thanks Patrufini, for they funny video on Saturday morning.
I just can’t believe any of the Tories went into private education and what actually they learnt, other than how to put on a ridiculously funny accent.

Truth Finder 8 November, 2022 4:21 pm

Well said and hilarious as usual. Thanks Copperfield!

Rakesh thakur 9 November, 2022 6:15 pm

These guys needs to be sued for defamation with data .This is leading to breakdown of patient GP relationship..If a patient says that to me I tell them how many visits they have done in the last month.Theybare the usual frequent appointment hoggers rather than genuine patients.

john mackay 10 November, 2022 12:06 am

Really? If as a professional you can’t say no to this, what will you ever be able to say no to?
Just say no.

David Church 10 November, 2022 8:09 am

No kangaroos stupid enough to take part in such a show!

But seriously, why do patients need access to notes?
If they want to know what I said, they can just re-watch the covert video they took of me on their smart-phone with full GMC permission, but not mine bacause they did not have the respect to ask me.

Nobody knows what I write in paper notes, not recorded on computer anyway – and what information I hold in my head is known only to me unless I choose to pass it on to warn a colleague.

Prof Plums 10 November, 2022 9:57 am

We are already seeing organisations whose records (am thinking scan requests) can automatically go into the GP record informing us they do not write these as patient facing documents, and that it will be the GP’s responsibility to assess this… The unanticipated complexity of this is enormous. Then there is safeguarding and the suggestion of the bogus consult to confirm attenance with a then hidden consult of the real issues – this is a minefield for primary care. What of the patient who reads/misreads a comment then takes an action which they later regret….do they then look to litigation? I am all for openness etc, but there needs to be some more logic here, no one else seems to do this.

Jamal Hussain 10 November, 2022 1:59 pm

I’m not seeing the drama. Use auto fills. Write better notes. Use dictation software. Write notes with the full expectation that the patient will read it. Simples.