GPs could de-rail plans for online patient records by 2015

The government’s plan to make all patient records available online by 2015 could get de-railed, as just 4% of GPs currently offer digital access

The government’s plan to make all patient records available online by 2015 could get de-railed, as just 4% of GPs currently offer digital access, according to research.

Around 50% of GP practices already have the technological capability to allow patients to access their own records under the widely-used EMIS software, according to Giles Wilmore, 

director of Quality Framework and Information Strategy at the Department of Health.  However, the 4% figure appears to be an increase from 2% last year.

The survey by found that 43% of GPs have yet to address the issue, while 15% of respondents said they had a long way to go before their IT system would be ready and 24% said they did not know whether their system allowed patients to access their records online.

Of the 1,000 GPs questioned, 5% said their IT system was ready but not live yet, and 9% said they were nearly ready.

Tim Ringrose, chief executive of, said:  “Our survey suggests that many doctors have yet to be convinced of the merits of this system and this may explain why few practices are ready to embrace it.”

The survey conducted on behalf of eHealth Insider, found that 49% of the GPs surveyed thought that providing patients with online access to their GP-held records would be useful; while 27% agreed with the 2015 deadline imposed by the government to implement the system.  

The survey also asked GPs about their use of email for consultations and about their use of Twitter, Facebook to interact with patients. Aroud 79% said they had never tried email consultations, with 58% having never interacted with their patients via social media.


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After teh senior partner retired our local GP group practice scrapped its on-line appointments service. You now have to ring and talk to a receptionist who will get a doctor to ring you back to talk through why you want an appointment before you can one. I have yet to find out why.


Given the tattered history of IT procurement in the NHS, it is little wonder that GPs have no wish to get involved in what will surely be yet another ill-advised debacle with not a single top manager being held to account for the billions wasted. I was part of the early roll out of a couple of systems and our warnings of rampant inefficiency fell on deaf ears.







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