The summary care record roll out

A GP practice in Hampshire has recorded opt-out requests for the Summary Care Record from 20% of its patients.

The Oaklands Practice in Yateley, Hampshire, has run a five year information campaign for its patients on the SCR and pledged not to upload any records without explicit consent.

It has now received requests from other GP practices in different parts of the country asking for information and advice on running SCR information drives, following the launch of Public Information Programmes in five strategic health authorities.

Dr Neil Bhatia, a partner at the practice who has led the campaign, said the practice had yet to record a single request from a patient to have an SCR.

However, Dr Bhatia said his practice had not put 93C3 Read codes – “refused consent for upload to national shared electronic record” – on every patient’s record as some practices had done and it was not boycotting the project.

He told EHI Primary Care: “Nobody has given their consent at the moment, but we have said quite clearly that if they want one we will ask the PCT to create one if it decides to go-head with the project.

"Ultimately it is the patient’s decision but we have guaranteed that nothing will be uploaded without their explicit consent.”

The Oaklands Practice is in NHS Hampshire, which last year decided not to implement the SCR in 2009-10 and to expand its own shared care record system instead.

This week, the PCT said it was still focusing on the Hampshire Health Record (HHR). A spokesperson for NHS Hampshire told EHI Primary Care: “There has been a considerable level of resource and commitment to develop the HHR within Hampshire, to offer a secure shared record for the benefit of patients and clinicians. The focus for the PCT will therefore remain on this project.

“In line with the DH Informatics Planning 2010-11 guidance, NHS Hampshire will remain informed of the requirements to implement the SCR in Hampshire. NHS Hampshire will continue to consult with the SHA but is yet to formalise a timeline for the implementation of the SCR.”

However, despite the uncertainty over what will happen in his own PCT, Dr Bhatia said the practice had decided it was important to set out its own position on the SCR over several years.

He said this had involved disseminating information about the SCR in leaflets available at the practice, posters in the waiting room, messages on repeat prescriptions, information on the practice website and a website created specifically on the plans for national care records.

Dr Bhatia added: “We can say with absolute confidence that the vast majority of our patients understand our approach.”

However, Dr Bhatia said it had been difficult to advise practices which had been in contact with him since the 12 week PIPs for the SCR began in five SHAs earlier this year.

He said: “It’s hard for practices that haven’t done anything before because even if you start now can you feel confident within 12 weeks that you are happy for records to be uploaded? ”

Guidance issued by the BMA earlier this week said the association was concerned about the effectiveness of the PIPs.

It added: “In view of this, GP practices play an important role in raising awareness including patients’ rights to opt out of having a SCR.

"It is important that any information provided to patients is balanced and empowers them to make an informed decision. We do not support the provision of biased information, which attempts to persuade patients to opt in, or out, of the SCR.