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Lack of IT puts NHS patients at risk, says BMA

The British Medical Association has urged the government to upgrade health service IT to support forthcoming changes in doctors'...

The British Medical Association has urged the government to upgrade health service IT to support forthcoming changes in doctors' working practices.

A report from the BMA's Junior Doctors Committee highlighted the need for effective systems to transfer patient information. It warned that with the move from resident on-call rotas to shifts, doctors could now find themselves responsible for up to 100 patients they have not cared for before.

Simon Calvert of the BMA Junior Doctor's Committee said, "The NHS urgently needs to develop information systems that take changes in working patterns into account.

"If these problems are not addressed, there will be unacceptable risks to patients."

The BMA's report called for an electronic directory linking doctors' contact details to their duty rotas so that the right doctor can be contacted in an emergency. It also called for the development of systems for the handover of critical patient information.

In addition, the BMA urged the NHS to pilot technology to allow doctors to report results and order treatments from a patient's bedside.

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