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Health records riddled with errors

Broken Summary Care Records

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The Summary Care Records scheme is not trusted by doctors because some records have serious errors.

No patients have actually been harmed, but only because doctors do not trust the information contained in the database and so are double-checking information.

Researchers from University College London found records which had missing information on patients' allergies or intolerances to drugs. They found other examples with incorrect allergies recorded or not listing drugs which patients were taking, and other records which had medication listed which patients were not taking.

The SCR programme showed no evidence of improving anyone's medical care nor of speeding up doctors' appointments or treatment in an emergency.

The programme has been dogged by controversy and complaints over how it was communicated to patients and doctors and how consent was obtained. It forms the centre piece of the government's £12.7bn National Programme for IT to wire up the NHS.

Connecting for Health has been criticised for pushing ahead with the scheme even though the review is still going on. The BMA has called for the programme to be halted.

Connecting for Health said it had not seen the report and so could not comment.

There is no definite date for publishing the report - and with an election imminent, with an associated 'purdah period', it is possible it will not be released until after the General Election.

Hat tip to Computer Weekly which got its hands on the report.

A DH spokesman said:"This is a draft report based on a small sample of information. It is currently being reviewed for inaccuracies by academics and other contributors.

"In Scotland, the Emergency Care Summary now includes over 5 million records and is already demonstrating clinical benefits when used extensively across the population. Clinicians and patient groups have told us they want to see summary care records being made available across the NHS in England." ®

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