Dear Mr Hunt,
With reference to your latest idea about enabling care homes to update GPs records every day, I would like to make the following points:
Our objections are not focused primarily on concerns about confidentiality, considerable though these are.
Mrs A has not opened her bowels for two days now.
Nor are they based on the potential for overlooked messages, though this is a real concern.
Mrs B only ate half her lunch today, and it was her favourite.
Our anxiety is more that
Mrs C seems a bit sleepier than usual; do you think she’s anaemic?
With everyone and their dog having access to the notes
The community nurse dipped Mrs D’s urine because it was smelly and it shows signs of infection so can she have some antibiotics but not trimethoprim because that makes her sick, also she can only swallow capsules.
It becomes almost impossible
Mrs D looked yellow last week and her relatives said her lips were blue. She was rather pale yesterday and today she looks off colour.
To sift out the useful information from the dross
Mrs E has been threatening everyone with a knife again, the CPN said you need to examine her to exclude a physical cause.
Or, to put it another way
Just to let you know that Mrs F’s foot is black.
Mrs G is losing weight, can you prescribe something to build her up, she likes Complan Shake (but not strawberry. Or vanilla. Or that purple one.)
Mrs H is still getting her headaches and you haven’t left any instructions for how often she can have paracetamol, so we can’t give her any.
Mrs I is still passing blood out of her back passage, is that normal?
Mrs J is breathing fast.
Mrs K is breathing slowly.
Mrs L isn’t breathing. Or moving. Could you pop in some time?
Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @DocCopperfield.