Out-of-hours team gains e-record spine access

Bolton's out-of-hours service is the first in England to have access to summary care records.

GPs and other staff using the out-of-hours service are now beginning to access the records, which have been downloaded from practices in the Lancashire town, one of four early-adopter areas piloting the record system.

The out-of-hours service deals with 5,500 calls a month, with Connecting for Health estimating that around 900 of these could be from patients with details uploaded onto the summary care records system.

There are also plans to roll out access to staff at the Royal Bolton Hospital's A&E department and Bolton PCT's walk-in centre within months.

So far, just eight of the town's 57 practices have uploaded records to the system, with three more set to follow.

But, according to Connecting for Health, the numbers are set to grow as another 24 practices in the town have expressed an interest in uploading their patient records.

Despite this optimism, a survey released last week by Bolton LMC shows that Connecting for Health is facing an uphill struggle convincing a large number of GPs in the town who still have concerns over the ability of patients to opt out and confidentiality.

Of the 98 of the town's 169 GPs that responded, two thirds want to see the initiative axed.

Dr Gillian Braunold, Connecting for Health's national clinical lead for GPs and a GP in north London, said the latest figures regarding opt-out show that just 1 per cent of Bolton patients have opted out.

She said: 'This shows the majority of patients are comfortable with the sharing of records.'

Earlier this year GP reported that clinicians anywhere in England would be able to access summary care records (GP, 29 June).

GPletters@haymarket.com.

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