A senior BMA IT representative has criticised the creation of four separate emergency summary records for the four countries in the UK.

Dr Grant Ingrams, co-chair of the BMA and Royal College of GPs Joint IT Committee, told last week’s British Computer Society Primary Healthcare Specialist Group conference that it did not make sense to have the Summary Care Record in England and different emergency summaries in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

He added: “Four different summaries none of which talk to each other is barmy. There are plenty of people that live along the borders and people do move around. We don’t have a national summary care record – just one in each area.”

He told the conference that he had also recently heard a suggestion that the Summary Care Record in England could be devolved to regional level which he said could mean as many as 30 different summaries for different areas.

Dr Ingrams said he did not know whether the coalition government intended to scrap the SCR in England but told conference goers that his own hope was that it would continue.

He added: “I do hope that what they suggest is that they do a slimline model which is what Scotland did and it hasn’t had major problems with its Emergency Care Summary from patients and clinicians and it also cost them an awful lot less.”

Dr Ingrams said the BMA had agreed to a roll-out of the SCR across one strategic health authority before Christmas but was then alarmed to discover that five SHAs were to proceed with the plans despite the BMA’s concerns that many primary care trusts would be unable to handle the roll-out.

He added|: “Within weeks we had loads of examples of PCTs proving themselves to be incompetent by, for example, saying silly things to GPs and the public or just going ahead with the leaflets and not the rest of the Public Information Programme. The Information Commissioner said he wanted to be sure that the public knew what was going on and they clearly didn’t.”

Dr Ingrams said he believed the SCR “had the potential to do great good” but said everyone had to accept it and opt into it. He said the BMA’s position was that there should be an opt-in consent model and said that was highly likely to remain its position.