The former Chair of IT for the British Medical Association’s General Practitioners Committee (GPC) has today called on GPs across England to automatically opt all of their patients out of the Summary Care Record, now known to present “risks to patient safety” .
Dr Paul Cundy is the most senior practising GP to date to declare that he will block all of his patients from being uploaded to the system. His press release  explains what GPs must do to make their patients safe, and he confirms: “I will be doing this in my surgery before the end of the month.”
NO2ID, which has been campaigning on medical confidentiality since 2006 , called on Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley to step in and immediately suspend the entire Summary Care Record (SCR) programme, pending a full review.
Following the publication of a damning report into Summary Care Records by an independent team at UCL , the General Practitioners Committee of the British
Medical Association passed two extremely strongly-worded motions, which advised:
“…in view of the risks to patient safety caused by the failures of SCRs to be reliably and consistently updated, access to existing SCRs should be immediately be suspended by the government…”. The other motion states that because “the clinical benefits are insufficient to justify continuation at present… the creation of SCRs in England should be halted” .
Phil Booth, National Coordinator of NO2ID said:
“The Coalition promised to put patients in charge of their records. Will Andrew Lansley now keep this promise — or will he allow millions of patients’ confidentiality and health to be put at risk?
“Leaving it to individual GPs to stand up for their patients — and letting the department try and bypass them  – shows the bureaucracy, not the Government, is still in control.”
- Doctors in Birmingham discovered that 1 in 10 records uploaded to the system so far contain out-of-date information or errors that could put patients’ lives
at risk. See, e.g. ‘One in ten electronic medical records contain errors’, Telegraph, 17/7/10: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7895094/One-in-ten-electronic-medical-records-contain-errors-doctors.html
- ‘Opt out all your patients from Summary Care Records, former GPC IT chief urges’, Pulse, 27/7/10: http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=35&storycode=4126670&c=2
Dr Cundy states: “Previously GPs might also have had to write to all their patients telling them that they were doing this but the emerging news that the
SCR is actually positively unsafe means they definitely no longer need to do this. Stopping uploads protects patients’ data and certainly does them no harm.”
- NO2ID is the UK-wide non-partisan campaign against ID cards and the database state. See http://www.no2id.net/dbstate for a list of database state initiatives that NO2ID is actively opposing. NO2ID helped launch NHS Confidentiality campaign http://www.nhsconfidentiality.org in 2006, which won the right for patients to opt out of the Summary Care Record.
- The report found that the project had been poorly managed, that it brought little if any benefit, and that the data on the system had a significant error
rate. A copy of the full report can be downloaded from: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/1006/10061703
- Full text of the two motions passed by the BMA GPC on 15th July 1020:
“That GPC believes that, after consideration of the UCL Report in respect of the Summary Care Record (SCR) in England:
1. the clinical benefits are insufficient to justify continuation at present, particularly at a time when patients are being denied proven clinical services on the grounds of expense;
2. the clinical benefits are insufficient to justify the creation without fully informed explicit consent;
3. the clinical benefits are insufficient to justify GPs consenting to the upload of data on behalf of patients who have not expressed consent;
4. the creation of SCRs in England should be halted until the full review of the model, and other models, has taken place to address cost-effectiveness and the
need for informed and explicit consent of patients.”
“That GPC believes that in view of the risks to patient safety caused by the failures of SCRs to be reliably and consistently updated, access to existing SCRs should be immediately be suspended by the government until all patient safety issues have been fully investigated and satisfactorily resolved.”
- On 4th June, Minister for Health Simon Burns said uploading of information to SCR would continue ’so long as GP practices and Primary Care Trusts agreed that patients had been “adequately informed” and properly enabled to opt-out’. In reality, PCTs have been dealing directly with practice managers not GPs — i.e. both patients and doctors have effectively been cut out of the decision process. See ‘NHS IT minister says SCR “will continue”‘, e-Health Insider, 4/6/10: http://www.ehiprimarycare.com/News/5967/nhs_it_minister_says_scr_%E2%80%98will_continue%E2%80%99
For immediate or future interview, please call:
- Phil Booth (National Coordinator, national.coordinator at no2id.net) on 07974 230 839
- Guy Herbert (General Secretary, general.secretary at no2id.net) on 07956 544 308
- Michael Parker (Press Officer, press.officer at no2id.net) on 07773 376 166