BMA calls for review of Choose and Book and Summary Care Records

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The Chairman of the British Medical Association's GPs Committee today listed programmes that he said should be cut or reviewed because of the financial crisis and the need for savings.

In his speech to the annual LMC Conference, Dr Laurence Buckman said that although there has been record investment in the NHS in recent years, there are "worrying" times ahead, because the government needs to make major savings.

Cutting spending on management consultants was one way to save money. Strategic health authorities, primary care trusts and NHS trusts spent up to £1,000 a day on management consultants - a total of £308.5m on in 2007/8, he said.

Too much was spent on managers. "Many management jobs seem to exist with the sole purpose supporting successive NHS reorganisations and top-down initiatives of the previous government. Micro-management of GP practices is expensive and unnecessary."

In calling for reviews of two NPfIT schemes - Choose and Book and the Summary Care - Buckman said :

•    Choose and Book - Many practices find the e-booking element of Choose and Book useful. However, the 'Choose' element is laboriously bureaucratic and requires a lot of expensive NHS staff time, and management. The system is now regularly used to ration demand and meet the 18 week waiting times target by PCTs. In practical terms it is often difficult for patients to exercise real choice.

•   The current 'consent to view' model of the Summary Care Record - the BMA agreed to the current consent model during SCR pilots, on the basis that there would be a thorough independent evaluation before it was rolled out further. This is due to be published soon, and the premature roll-out of this scheme is costly and inappropriate.

In stopping short of calling for summary care records to be scrapped, Buckman may anger some local medical committee representatives.

The 2010 Local Medical Committee conference takes place today and tomorrow at Logan Hall, The Institute of Education, London. LMCs represent GP practices.

Links:

LMC conference to call for summary care records to be scrapped - E-Health Insider

Summary Care Records confidential draft report - some of its findings - IT Projects Blog

Coalition's disgraceful u-turn on summary care records - Big Brother Watch

Coalition to leave summary care records little changed? - IT Projects Blog

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