GPC calls for a £1,500 electronic records DES

GP leaders want a directed enhanced service (DES) scheme for the national care record scheme in England, worth £1,500 for 2008/9.

The DES would compensate practices for the time it takes to talk patients through the implications of sharing their information with the national patient record system.

The GPC expects pilots for the scheme to begin in ‘the next month or so’ and will base pay demands on the workload.

GPC negotiator Dr Richard Vautrey said the current IT DES did not cover this.

‘The DES didn’t include the discussion that would take place when you press the button to create the e-record,’ he said.

The national care record database is likely to get under way in phases across England, Dr Vautrey said. Talking to patients about the move could create a dramatic surge in consultation time for a short while, he said and practices may need extra staff to cope.

‘It’s going to have to be a DES and we will be looking for it to be implemented from 2008/9,’ he told GP.

GPC member and Sheffield GP Dr Trefor Roscoe said some form of payment for the transition to the national care record was vital, because ‘it could swamp general practice’.

However, he said that the majority of patients would not care if their data was shared.

‘The difficulty is in practices like mine, with large numbers of middle class patients who will want to discuss what’s happening to their data,’ he said.

‘I think the minimum time for a conversation about it will be two or three minutes and some will want to discuss it for up to half an hour. The average will probably be about five minutes.’

Avon LMC chief executive Steve Mercer said that, based on £65 per hour, GPs should receive about £5 extra for each additional five minutes incurred by the scheme.

He said it would have to be paid as a lump sum because it would be impossible to audit the time added to consultations.

‘If one in 20 patients had a concern they wanted to discuss, then an average practice with about three GPs and 6,000 patients should receive around £1,500,’ he said.

Mr Mercer said £65 per hour was the rate paid by the LMC for additional work, but many GPs may charge more.

However, initial discussions with patients about their national care record may not be the only source of additional work for practices.

Dr Roscoe said that many patients would have queries about how their data was being used and that practices were already receiving letters on this.

Dr Roscoe said GPs were also wary of involvement in the shared records because they were concerned they would be blamed if the system did not work.

Electronic records

  • Pilots to begin from February. 
  • GPC wants DES for e-records from 2008/9. 
  • Average practice could earn £1,500 under the proposal. 
  • Discussing e-record will add an average of five minutes to consultations. 
  • Consultations could be extended by up to 30 minutes. 

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