Connecting for Health hopes to rollout its GP2GP record transfer project to every practice in England by the end of next year, according to GP representatives.

The British Medical Association’s General Practitioner Committee told local medical committees this week that the current plan is for every practice in England to be able to send and receive patient records electronically by the end of 2008.

Dr Paul Cundy, chair of the GPC’s IT sub-committee, said the project was already having an impact on the practices where it has been implemented.

He told EHI Primary Care: “People in practices say the benefits being delivered for practices are amazing. It’s now working so well that in some cases patient records are arriving within minutes of patients registering at the practice.”

Version one of the GP2GP record project software which enables transfers between practices using the same supplier has been tested by both EMIS and INPS for more than a year and more than 500 EMIS practices now have the software installed. Version 1.1, which allows two way transfers between different systems, has been piloted by EMIS and INPS practices in Croydon since March.

Dr Cundy said iSOFT has now delivered a beta version of its GP2GP software. He added: “This is good news because iSOFT’s problems have meant that timescales have been slipping and slipping but the project is now very reassured that it is going to happen.”

He said the project also hoped that TPP would be fully implemented by the end of 2008 even though the company, along with Healthy Software and Seetec Enterprise, uses Read code version 3 and it is currently not possible for codes to be translated from Read code 3 to Read code 2 and vice versa.

SystmOne users are able to perform GP2GP transfers from one SystmOne practice to another SystmOne practice. Kerry Guthrie, TPP customer relationship manager, told EHI Primary Care this week: “We have now finished the development work on the GP2GP project and are currently going through the testing and accreditation processes with Conncecting for Health."

The GPC also told LMCs that upgrades to support the large scale transfer of records over 5MBs over the NHS Spine are scheduled for November and that GP2GP functionality in core GP systems is likely to be available throughout the UK but mechanisms for supporting the request and delivery processes will require close collaboration between the four countries.