NHS Stoke on Trent has kicked off the national roll-out of the Summary Care Record, while another primary care trust has ditched controversial plans to obtain details of patients who have already opted-out of the SCR.
NHS Stoke on Trent is the first PCT taking part in the national roll-out to launch its patient information programme (PIP), following on from the six early adopter sites.
It said summary records would initially be made available to the patients of two GP practices in Burslem and Norton and Hartshill, with a view to rolling them out to the rest of its practices within 12 months.
Graham Urwin, chief executive of NHS Stoke on Trent, said: “This is all about improving the safety and quality of patient care. It means NHS staff will have faster access to reliable information about patients to help with their treatment, especially in emergencies and out of hours. It will therefore reduce the time spent waiting to get accurate information.”
NHS Lincolnshire was due to be the first PCT in the first wave of the national roll-out to launch its PIP. This was due to happen on 30 January, but the organisation now plans to begin its PIP at the end of February.
Documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that NHS Lincolnshire planned to ask GP practices to supply the details of patients who had already contacted the practice to decline an SCR.
The PCT said such patients would require a different letter, to invite them to the surgery to discuss the issue further. However, NHS Lincolnshire told EHI Primary Care this week that it would no longer be asking for patient details from GP practices.
A spokesperson said: “NHS Lincolnshire is managing the letter production and distribution on behalf of practices. One approach being considered was for the practice to advise which patients should not be sent a letter because they have opted out.
“This has now been revised and practices are writing themselves to patients who have opted out. No names of opted out patients are therefore being passed on to NHS Lincolnshire.”
NHS Connecting for Health declined to comment on whether it would be appropriate for PCTs to ask practices for the names of patients who have opted out of the SCR.
A CfH spokesperson said: “NHS CfH considers this to be a matter for NHS Lincolnshire to comment on.”
The documents were obtained by Hampshire GP Dr Neil Bhatia, who has subsequently submitted FoI requests to the six early adopter PCTs to see if they have asked practices for the names of patients who have opted-out.
So far, he has had a response from NHS South West Essex, NHS Dorset and South Birmingham PCT which said they had never asked GP practices to send it identifiable data about patients who have opted out.
Dr Bhatia told EHI Primary Care: "I think it’s totally unacceptable for identifiable details to be sent to a PCT, and NHS Lincs had no choice but to withdraw that proposal. Equally why should practices re-contact patients? Just how many times doe someone have to say 'no' before DH/CfH will accept that they do not want their data uploaded?"
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