Doctors have expressed concern about the benefits of the Summary Care Record programme but stepped back from calling for the roll-out to be halted.
The BMA’s Annual Representative Meeting said it was concerned about evidence questioning the benefits of the English summary record.
However, it did not give its wholehearted backing to calls for the roll-out of the SCR to be stopped. It agreed instead that such a move should be given further consideration by the BMA.
Dr Peter Holden, a negotiator for the BMA’s GP committee, told the ARM that he believed many patients were still ignorant of their right to opt-out.
He also claimed that the benefits of the SCR had been “hugely overstated”, citing last year’s report on the independent evaluation of the SCR by University College London.
Dr Holden added: “There is no direct evidence of improved patient safety apart from some anecdotal evidence which is frankly pretty weak.”
He argued that the NHS was still waiting to see the benefits for patients of emergency summary records and claimed the SCR could become “just another expensive IT white elephant.”
However, the SCR was defended by Dr Paul Flynn, who was one of the BMA adviser’s to the UCL report. He claimed suspension of the roll-out would prevent further monitoring of its potential benefits.
He added: “The SCR is a step along the way to full electronic health records and I think it’s just too early to see benefits in terms of hard outcomes.
"To expect specific measurable clinical benefits is premature. Throughout the history of IT in health no IT has been right from the start.”
Dr Chaand Nagpaul from the BMA’s IT committee told the ARM that the BMA did continue to have concerns about the benefits of the SCR but had been closely involved in the review of the SCR.
He said the association had won some major concessions, including the inclusion of an opt-out form in the information pack for patients and a limit on the initial information uploaded.
In other debates at the BMA’s policy-setting conference this week doctors said a series of amendments to the Health Bill and Social Care Bill accepted by the government following its listening exercise did not go far enough.
They passed a motion calling for the Bill to be withdrawn. However, they also narrowly rejected a call for the BMA to oppose the Bill in its entirety.
Doctors were also concerned about pensions. The ARM passed a motion calling for a possible ballot of BMA members on industrial action, after hearing that junior doctors might be better off investing in a private pension than joining a reformed NHS scheme.
The doctors warned that a mass opt-out from the scheme could potentially destablise it. However, Dr Andrew Dearden, the chairman of the BMA's Pensions Committee, said industrial action would be a "last resort."
© 2011 EHealth Media.
To Harm or Not To HarmCanUseeTheLight 203 weeks ago
I have as yet to read anything about where medico-legal responsibility lies in relation to acting on data viewed via a summary care record. This is the main issue with the SCR. If I happen to fetch up some place and am pumped full of the wrong blood type or drug because my SCR said it was ok to do so who do I blame? The harm caused is very clear but who is responsible? The clinicians acting in good faith – nice but if I am sick I don’t want someone to act on good faith I want them to know. Once this area has been made clear we can then move forward with what to share and how to share it. In my opinion there is nothing better that real time access with no need to message. The following is a case in point http://www.maracis.co.uk/documents/Oxford_Health_Information_Sharing_Service_Case_Study_V1_0.pdf
Evidence of Benefits vs Evidence of HarmNick Tordoff 204 weeks ago
I have never been a fan of the SRC. I think there are far more effective and elegant solutions to the issue of ensuring emergency services have access to appropriate information. However the SRC is what we have got available now so we need to use it.
The nay sayers complain that there is lack of absolutely unequivical, compelling evidence of benefits mearly anacdotal evidence.
They ignore the fact that there is overwhelming evidence of harm from the present position. Can anybody point me to evidence that the SCR is creating harm to patients. If not then surely the precautionary principle points to getting on with this and not towards delaying further.
They cite a well researched and constructed report which identified that a major reason for lack of evidence of benefit was that there was a lack of take up. They use this as a reason for .... slowing down or abandoning takeup. Even their own advisors to that report are telling them to get on with it
In my opinion we are getting to the point where patients are suffering significant, avoidable harm as a direct result of GP practices thinking they can opt out of this.
Let us turn this on its head.
The rights of people who cannot be bothered to fill in an opt-out form seem to have the right to prevent this going ahead. What rights do I have as a patient to go to my GP and tell them that I want a SCR. What rights do my dementia suffering mother and my beta blocked and waferin dosed father have to request the same.
The evidence is stacking up that this delay is now causing significant avoidable harm. JFDI
Evidence of harm?mrtablet 203 weeks ago
Perhaps you should familiarise yourself with the concept of opportunity cost.
The SCR is an inadequate 'dead-end' solution. which has IMO been promoted to get CfH off the hook of delivering anything more useful.
"Yes Minister the NHS has a National Care Record".
Live 'portals' onto EMR systems coupled with federated document management systems both offer far more.
Should the SCR be renamed as the ICR?ehealthsolutions 204 weeks ago
I think the SCR project should be relaunched as a far more elaborate integrated care pathway record - the ICR - Integrated Care Record. Any "approved" healthcare provider would be able (required?) to contribute to the ICR - Allergies, Alerts, Problem List, Referrals, Medication, Investigations and Results, Care Plan.
All patients who need treatment beyond their GP should have a right to have an ICR to help integrate their treatment, avoid duplicate investigations and closely follow their care plan.
What is the problem the SCR is trying to address?Mary Hawking 203 weeks ago
If you look at the objections to the SCR - as well as the consent, cost and vfm issues - they are largely related to lack of any clarity about the scope and purpose.
The Scottish SCR was clearly definded - medication and allergies/adverse reactions only and permanently from the beginning: the usefulness was clear and could be agreed, and the data was likely to be relatively easy to define and complete.
With the SCR, the scope was mush more ambitious: not only medication (confusingly, no last issue for repeats) and allergies/adverse reactions but following that upload of diagnoses from the GP record and ultimately attachment of A&E attendances and hospital discharge letters, apparently whether or not there was a SCR created from the GP record.
I suspect the equivalent of the ECR would have been widely welcomed and accepted and it was - and is - the uncertainty of the future ambitions, plans and control over them that has lead to the opposition to the whole program.
How far would *you* trust a record where you *knew* it was likely to have been edited, but you had no idea how?