RCGP backs care records despite GP opposition

The RCGP has done an about-face and declared its support for the Summary Care Record (SCR) - placing it on a collision course with the profession.

Steve Field
Steve Field

In a letter to the BMJ, RCGP chairman Professor Steve Field and vice chair Dr Clare Gerada wrote that the College ‘had concerns over this scheme initially’. But 'we now believe there are enough checks and balances to make it a significant move forward in patient safety and clinical care’, they wrote.

The letter cited the increased security, the introduction of the audit trail, and the switch to a ‘consent-to-view’ model. Although some GPs fear their role would be undermined by allowing other clinicians to access patient records, it says, the college has ‘more confidence in the intrinsic value of general practice’.

The SCR, it concludes, will ‘produce faster access to up-to-date information about patients, improve the ability to deliver safer, more effective care, wherever the patient chooses to access that care’.

The move represents a substantial shift from the College's early opposition to the SCR scheme, and clashes with the views expressed by many of its members.

The recent LMCs conference in London passed motions criticising the SCR's use of 'implied consent' and arguing that GPs' role holding patient records was ‘fundamental to maintaining their confidentiality’.

jonn.elledge@haymarket.com

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