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Digitisation & Primary Care Networks (PCN): News Update for PMs

One of FPM’s associates has prepared a round-up of the things PMs need to know right now, including updates on primary care networks and digitisation of patients’ notes, sharing their thoughts on how the stories are affecting general practice. 


Digitisation of patients’ notes

I am not sure what is happening in other areas, but we are being offered money to help toward the digitisation of all our patients’ notes.

The CCG have negotiated with a company to do the work, but we will need to box up the notes and complete a manifest for them to work with. The money offered is unlikely to cover all our costs, but it is a help.

Local practices have some serious concerns as to liability in the case of wrong scanning of notes, and worry that when patients get full access to their records online they may encounter errors.

Having checked with the ICO, it has become clear that it is the surgeries who are responsible for any errors, not the scanning company. This does create a problem; patient notes might have gone through two or more surgeries previously and despite checking on summarising, I have to ask, do we check every single piece of paper and cross reference NHS numbers? How many John Smiths do we all have registered?


Who is really liable for errors?

Whilst we would probably never know, if the company mixes up a file - which can happen – and the wrong notes are scanned, we are deemed responsible.

There does not seem to be a simple way around this and the ICO say every record should be checked on return. But as we will not get the paper notes back that is not possible, and pays no attention to the logistics of this task.

The CCG suggest we check a percentage of notes going out, say 5%, to check the notes are correct on leaving the surgery - but I fail to see how that will help.

If we do find a mistake, what happens then? Will we need to check more? This is time consuming and costly. Our practice is seeking further clarification and wondered if anyone else has been able to mitigate this risk?

 

Primary Care Networks

As my practice get closer to signing up for a PCN and starts digging in to the work involved, a number of articles in the news suggest caution as to the financial liability on tax and VAT for practices joining together.

We are meeting shortly with our Primary Care Networks partners to discuss and agree how and what we are going to do. As has been said many times before, we are all putting our toes in the water and we all have differing views and aspirations.

I fear we are getting on a rollercoaster with this idea from the NHS of super partnerships - and it just may not be possible to get off. As is typical of the NHS, it’s a wait and see scenario.


What are your thoughts on the topics discussed in our news round-up? Are there any other stories you would like to see covered? Don’t forget to head to the 
FPM Forum to share your ideas or even just let off some steam.

 


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