Would Summary Care Records have saved the life of Penny Campbell?[Comments 5 and 6 after this article correct some of the impressions I have given. The SCR is equipped to take GP notes]
It's rare for the British Medical Association and NHS Connecting for Health to debate the Summary Care Records. Their representatives did so on BBC R4's Today programme this morning
A transcript is below.
Dr Hamish Meldrum
of the BMA, and Dr Simon Eccles
of NHS Connecting for Health, made their points with impressive force.
The strongest single point was made at the end by Simon Eccles who suggested that the death of journalist Penny Campbell could have been avoided had a succession of out-of-hours doctors been able to see the notes of each of the doctors who had seen her before.
But would the Summary Care Records
really have made any difference? Eccles's point supposes:
- that each out-of-hour doctor who saw Campbell would have had real-time access to the SCR while they were with the patient, as opposed to looking at it before or the next day
- that each doctor would have recorded on the SCR what actions they had taken in real-time, or within an hour of seeing the patient
- that each doctor could have recorded their thoughts on what was wrong with Campbell. The SCR is not yet for notes - it's a record of medications, adverse drug reactions and allergies.
The death of Penny Campbell
was characterized by a series of doctors not noticing, acting on, or understanding, a trajectory of different and complex symptoms.
Each of her calls to doctors was treated as an individual "episode", with Campbell having to repeatedly recount her symptoms. The SCR is not yet geared for recording symptoms.
The SCR could have helped - but her records would have needed real-time updating of notes
by every doctor she saw.
And this is not happening under the national SCR scheme that's now being rolled out.