Most primary care trusts taking part in the "accelerated" SCR roll-out were not planning SCR uploads even before the suspension
Primary care trusts took financial incentives from the government for mailing out millions of patient information packs on the summary care records [SCR] scheme although most of them had no plans to create SCRs.
Of about 70 PCTs that took part in Public Information Programmes to inform the public on the summary care records scheme, only nine were planning uploads of records, according to figures released by NHS Connecting for Health.
The CfH figures confirm one of the findings in a confidential draft report by University College London on its independent evaluation of the Summary Care Record and Healthspace programmes.
The UCL report said that some PCTs have been keen to send out information to patients to take advantage of government one-off funding offers but have no current plans to commence SCR creation.
To what extent have SCR mail-out incentives to PCTs been political advertising for the NPfIT?
These disclosures will reinforce a suspicion among some in the NHS that the summary care record scheme has become, at least in part, politicized: in giving out the money for SCR mail-outs, the DH made no stipulation that PCTs should have plans to create SCRs.
The UCL draft report says that to obtain the funding for Public Information Programmes, PCTs had to undertake the public mail-out before end March 2010.
In London alone, the cost of running Public Information Programmes has been an estimated £7m.
The information packs gave patients the impression of a modernising government that uses IT and central records to make treatments on the NHS much safer.
The packs might also have suggested to some patients that the NHS IT scheme [NPfIT] was succeeding after all, despite the bad publicity.
But the lack of unequivocal support for SCR from many PCTs - although some are enthusiastic about SCR uploads - may help to explain why the Department of Health and NHS Connecting for Health have suspended some SCR uploads.
The official explanation
The official explanation for suspending uploads of SCRs in areas where PCTs took financial incentives to become part of the "accelerated" rollout is:
"Patient Summary Care Records will not be created in the regions identified for accelerated implementation of the SCR Patient Information Programme, until appropriate professional and public awareness has been raised." [NHS CfH]
PCTs push on with SCR despite DH stop - E-Health Insider
SCRs - the truth or nothing like it? - IT Projects Blog
2-page spread in Daily Mail on SCR database - D Mail