BMA branch opposes fast rollout of summary e-records

A branch of the British Medical Association has issued a statement supporting the concerns of doctors who are reluctant to allow patient records to be uploaded...

A branch of the British Medical Association has issued a statement supporting the concerns of doctors who are reluctant to allow patient records to be uploaded to a central database as part of the £12.7bn NHS IT scheme NPfIT.

The statement by the Leeds-based Northern Regional Council of the BMA could hamper the government's attempts to speed up the national rollout, already under way, of Summary Care Records

The Department of Health and NHS Connecting for Health want more than 50 million people in England to have a summary record, which holds details of any medications, allergies and adverse reactions to drugs or combination of drugs.

But the record may be little used by doctors and nurses if too many patients opt out of having their medical details on a central Oracle database run by BT.

Some GPs are refusing to allow the upload of sensitive details of their patients to the Care Records Service unless each patient specifically agrees - the so-called opt-in process.

Ministers have rejected opt-in in favour of automatically uploading patients' medical data unless the patients fill in an opt-out form.

The BMA's Northern Regional Council said that though it had initially agreed to support the piloting of the summary record in some areas, it had concluded there was "insufficient evidence from those pilots to support the rapid rollout of the scheme across the country".

The council's statement reads: "We cannot support a system which does not support proper informed consent [of patients]."

The Department of Health said the opt-out rate was less than 1% where the summary care record has already begun to be rolled out. Some BMA members said the low opt-out rate was because patients do not bother.

BMA statement in full - IT Projects Blog

NHS Connecting for Health guidance on opting out

Is Summmary Care Record plan feasible?

Read more on IT legislation and regulation

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