DoH suspends upload of patient records after BMA's concerns

The Department of Health has suspended the upload...

The Department of Health (DoH) has suspended the upload of patient care records in some parts of England after concerns were raised by the British Medical Association (BMA).

The Summary Care Record project, which will provide patients with electronic medical records, has been accelerated in some parts of England. But last month the BMA wrote to the department expressing a range of concerns that the project was moving forward too quickly in these areas, leading to a lack of information for patients whose details were being uploaded.

The association said it had "serious concerns" that the process was being carried out too quickly. It said, "Patients can opt out of having a record created, and the BMA believes they are receiving insufficient information about the choices they can make."

It also said the rushed implementation meant some records were being created without even implied consent from patients, and that insufficient evaluation of pilots had taken place.

The DoH says it is now sending out leaflets to patients to let them know how to opt out of the scheme.

The department said, "Patient Summary Care Records will not be created in the regions identified for the implementation of the SCR Patient Information Programme, until appropriate professional and public awareness has been raised.

"Connecting for Health is committed to continuing to work closely with stakeholders, including the BMA."

Dr Grant Ingrams, chairman of the BMA's GP IT committee, welcomed the move. "This is a positive step. We are pleased that Connecting for Health has listened to us, and welcome the decision to suspend uploads.

"Summary Care Records have the potential to improve healthcare for patients if implemented appropriately. We will want to work with government in future to ensure that the many concerns of patients and doctors are listened to and addressed."

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