The second pilot site for GP2GP transfer of patient records is due to get underway next week but rollout of the full scheme to all practices in England could take longer than expected.

In Practice Systems has completed testing of its GP2GP solution with Connecting for Health and its pilot, involving eight practices on the Isle of Wight all using In Practice Systems, is due to start next week.

However , the task of transferring between different GP systems is proving more complicated than was first thought and it is likely to be next year before that is widely available to GPs.

Dr Mike Robinson, medical director of In Practice Systems, told EHI Primary Care that GPs in the Isle of Wight practices would be familiarising themselves with the application’s functionality this week before its launch on February 20.

The first pilot site for GP2GP is Gateshead where nine practices, all using the EMIS computer system, have been sending and receiving patient records electronically since November.

The next pilot due to get underway in the late summer will test out the more difficult technical challenge of delivering successful transfers between different systems. GPs in Croydon will be involved in transfers between practices using EMIS and In Practice Systems software.

A further pilot in Bristol using EMIS, In Practice Systems and iSOFT is also due to get underway later this year.

Dr Robinson said work would be done on the GP2GP application before the Croydon pilot goes ahead.

He added: “The next stage is deployment in Croydon but that is still a little way away. The specification will change to take into account changes to the application of the workflow and feedback from Gateshead and the Isle of Wight.”

Dr Paul Cundy, senior clinical lead on the project and chairman of the IT committee of the BMA’s General Practitioner Committee (GPC) said the rollout of GP2GP would be discussed at the March meeting of the GPC.

He told EHI Primary Care: “We will be seeking guidance from the profession on the options available for roll-out of GP2GP.”

Dr Cundy said that as well as the technical challenges one of the biggest problems holding back the rollout of GP2GP was finding enough practices willing to test the system.

Problems with the number and size of attachments that the spine could cope with were raised by the GPC and RCGP last year but Dr Cundy said this would be overcome with a new release of the spine.

A spokesperson for NHS Connecting for Health said live trials of GP-to-GP transfer of electronic patient health records were currently underway.

He added: “The first live trial involved the transfer of patient records between practices within one primary care trust using the EMIS LV GP clinical system. The second live trial is about to start in another PCT with users of the In Practice clinical system. A third

live trial in another PCT will commence in late summer, transferring records between both types of GP clinical system. iSOFT have been engaged for GP-to-GP live trials and plans for testing and initial implementation are being agreed.

”National roll out of GP-to-GP transfers will commence following the successful conclusion of live trials. We are moving at a measured pace, working in conjunction with the GPC and the RCGP through the joint GP IT Committee, with patient safety the paramount consideration.”



GP2GP transfers deferred from 2006-07 DES