News

Clinicians drafted in for care records roll-out

The government has assembled a taskforce of the UK’s leading clinical professionals in a bid to sort out problems surrounding the implementation of electronic patient care records.

The heads of doctors’ body the British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Royal College of Nursing have been asked to draft a plan for the nationwide implementation of electronic records.

The new NHS Summary Care Records Taskforce will produce a plan for ministers by November. The Department of Health has already announced that electronic care records will go live in a small number of locations in early 2007 with a nationwide roll-out in 2008.

Health  minister Lord Warner said, “The NHS Care Records Service will bring benefits from the moment it’s in place, and we owe it to patients to do this as soon as possible. I am confident that – with support from the clinical community – Connecting for Health can and will deliver this valuable service.”

The taskforce will study the US Deparment of Veterans Affairs' electronic health record system, which holds a summary record of 23 million US ex-servicemen and women. In May 2006 one of the biggest ID security breaches ever occurred when a data analyst at the Department of Veterans Affairs had a laptop stolen which contained data on millions of former soldiers.

In a linked announcement the Department of Health also announced that more than 200 general practices would be able to transfer patient records electronically between themselves before the end of this year. This facility is one of the most important requested innovations by GPs.

Taskforce members

  • Harry Cayton (Chair), national director for patients and the public
  • Ursula Gallagher, executive director of quality, clinical governance and clinical practice at Ealing PCT
  • James Johnson, chair of the BMA
  • Dr Mayur Lakhani, chair of the RCGP
  • Dr Beverly Malone, general secretary of the RCN
  • Dr Hamish Meldrum, chair of the BMA GPC
  • Professor Mike Parker, director of the Oxford Centre for Ethics and Communication in Health Care Practice (Ethox)
  • Nick Partridge, chief executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust
  • Sigurd Reinton, chair of the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust
  • Maria Shortis, patient advocate
  • Jan Sobieraj, chief executive of Barnsley FT
  • Jim Wardrope, president of the College of Emergency Medicine

 

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