Feeds

'Press pose danger' to health record introduction

Glad to be of service

Managing the media is a key part of introducing Summary Care Records (SCRs) successfully, according to NHS Connecting for Health.

"The programme comes under intense media scrutiny," Siobhan Roberts, a communications lead for CfH, told a session at Assist's annual conference at the NEC in Birmingham on 4 June 2009. During the introduction of SCRs in early adopter areas, "a lot of the old news is regurgitated," she said, advising that such stories should be rebutted or ignored.

She illustrated the point with a slide of three news articles, labelled the good, the bad and the ugly. The last was a headline from The Register: "Summary Care Records – you might die, but they never will." She advised trusts adopting SCRs to involve their internal communications staff as early as possible, as well as local MPs and media.

SCRs have received hostile press coverage as a result of the assumed consent model chosen by the government, where patients' medical data is placed in a nationally available record unless they specifically ask for it not to be. Initially, the process for opting out was onerous and patients would not be specifically informed the transfer was taking place.

In response to this, CfH changed its process, so every patient above the age of 15 and three quarters receives a letter telling them about the transfer, is pointed to sources of further information and is given 12 weeks to refuse. If a patient does nothing, an SCR is created from the data held by the GP.

Nick Dunaway, director of ICT for South Birmingham PCT, said that an article in The Guardian on SCRs had discouraged eight of the area's 63 GP practices from involvement in the trust's adoption of the records, with a similar number of practices put off by the work involved.

South Birmingham started as an early adopter of SCRs in early 2007, and so far 45 of its practices have transferred patient data to CfH systems, "despite the poor press," Dunaway said. He added that he thought 100% of practices would eventually join.

Richard Corbridge, CfH's programme manager for implementation of SCRs, said that "the most controversial part of the SCR has been consent". But he pointed out that, as of 1 June 2009, just 0.7% of patients asked have opted out of having a record. As of that date, 288,953 SCRs had been created from patients at 46 GP practices, and 850,386 patients have been contacted about the scheme.

SmartHealthcare.com is published by Kable, a business division of Guardian News & Media Ltd. To register click here.

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.