Access to prescribing data blocked for sessional GPs

Revalidation threat as IT systems only recognise GP principals.

Sessional GPs are being barred from obtaining personal prescribing data that will be essential for revalidation.

IT systems including EMIS, the system most widely used in UK practices, do not recognise sessional GPs' prescribing numbers, thus blocking access to their personal prescribing data.

The problem remains despite the DoH agreeing that sessional GPs should have their own prescribing numbers and access to their own data following pressure from the GPC.

Dr Mark Selman, a member of the GPC's sessional GPs subcommittee, said that most locums, and about half of salaried GPs, would have problems with accessing data.

He said that some IT systems only recognise GP principals, and this problem was compounded by PCTs failing to issue prescribing numbers.

Personal data on prescribing are likely to be a key measure for performance management and clinical governance under revalidation. The GPC is pressing the DoH to make sure that locums and sessional GPs can access this data.

Dr Vicky Weeks, chairwoman of the GPC sessional GPs' subcommittee, said: 'The practice where I work uses EMIS and I can't access my own prescribing data because it's lumped together with that of my senior partner.'

Dr Malcolm Kendrick, deputy chairman of the subcommittee, said: 'It's going to become mission-critical this year when revalidation requires these data.'

Dr Charlie Stuart-Buttle, chairman of the EMIS users' group, said that some practices had been forced to allow sessional GPs to log in as principals.

'But that gives the sessional GP access to areas that the practice wouldn't want them in.'

Sean Riddell, managing director of EMIS, said the firm was looking at how to create a sessional login that would give access to prescribing data.

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